When Was The Last Time You Had Your Hearing Tested?

As San Antonio’s leading team of doctors of audiology, one of our biggest frustrations is the nationwide trend of prioritizing dental checkups, eye exams, cholesterol and blood pressure tests, and annual physicals while ignoring hearing tests.

Consequently, we often see patients when it’s too late to help them regain their hearing or who are experiencing negative mental, physical, or psychological health conditions that might have been prevented if we’d addressed their hearing health sooner. Playing catch up makes it difficult to prevent your hearing loss from getting worse and restore your hearing.

The Audicles team has been caring for San Antonio’s hearing health since 1944, caring for thousands upon thousands of patients and generations of families. Our message since the day we opened our doors has been that early detection of hearing loss enables patients to maximize their hearing health.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, are experiencing signs of hearing loss, the sooner you come to us for a comprehensive hearing assessment, the sooner you can enjoy better hearing along with the rewarding, independent lifestyle that comes with it.

Audicles Hearing Services' audiologist performing ear inspection during hearing assessment

Six Reasons People Put Off Hearing Assessments

In spite of the fact that 1 in 8 Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss, and predictions from the World Health Organization expect hearing challenges to double by 2050, people continue to put off having their hearing tested. We believe there is a lot of misinformation related to hearing loss and hearing care that keeps hearing assessments low on the list of healthcare screening priorities.

We’ve made a list of six of the most common misconceptions about hearing loss and hearing care so that we can help set the record straight and encourage you to make hearing assessments a healthcare priority.

1. My Hearing Loss Doesn’t Really Bother Anybody

Your hearing loss bothers you the most. Untreated hearing loss reduces your quality of life by increasing your risk of developing mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, as well as contributing to other physical health problems, like cognitive decline, vertigo, and balance disorders, along with putting you at a higher risk for accidents.

Unaddressed hearing challenges strain relationships at home and at work due to communication issues and greater dependence on others to make up for your hearing deficiency. A comprehensive hearing assessment is the first step towards preventing and correcting these issues before they drive down your quality of life.

2. Only Old People Suffer From Hearing Loss

It’s true that age deterioration is among the most common causes of hearing loss, and a majority of individuals who struggle with their hearing are over 70, but people of all ages experience hearing loss.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD) cites a 2011-2012 CDC study indicating that at least 10 million adults (6 percent) in the U.S. under age 70, maybe as many as 40 million adults (24 percent), show signs of hearing loss from exposure to loud noise. CDC researchers in 2005-2006 also discovered that about 17 percent of US teens (ages 12 to 19) showed signs of noise-induced hearing loss when tested.

3. A Hearing Test Won’t Tell Me Anything Useful

One of the biggest stresses that parents have is their concern about hoping their child behaves and makes things a lot easier during the limited time appointment, but you can relax. There’s really no rush.

We understand that some kids are happy to get in the booth, while others do not feel comfortable and require much more time to get to know us, feel comfortable, and need the support of their loved ones. If your child is struggling or not comfortable, we’ll make arrangements for another appointment at a later time.

4. If I Had A Hearing Problem, I’d Be The First To Know

Have you ever seen grass growing or paint drying? You can no more detect the gradual deterioration than you can see paint dry, making it difficult to know that you are experiencing hearing loss until it becomes a significant problem.

However, family, friends, and coworkers do notice that you’re struggling with your hearing, which is why, although it might be annoying, they are trying to get you to have your hearing tested.

5. Early Detection Produces Best Results

The comprehensive hearing assessments conducted by the hearing care professionals at Audicles are quick, easy, non-invasive, and we can provide you with the results during the same visit to our clinic.

6. I’ll Just Turn Up The Volume On The TV

Although it is one of the problems associated with hearing loss, issues with hearing clarity, rather than volume, tend to be at the root of hearing challenges.

Your inability to sort out conversations when there is background noise, the decreased capacity to understand women and children, or struggling to distinguish between consonant sounds, like th, s, and f, are the result of hearing clarity issues.

What You Can Expect During A Hearing Assessment

We find that people are more at ease when they know what’s going to happen during an examination rather than let them worry about what might happen. Our hearing assessments are easy, quick, non-invasive, and painless. Here’s what you can expect.

1. Our Hearing Assessments Start With A Conversation

Along with enjoying the opportunity to get to know you, our initial conversation about your occupation and lifestyle, special interests, and the types of leisure activities you enjoy, along with your medical history, medications you’re taking, and hearing problems in your family, help us pinpoint the cause of any current or future hearing challenges you might have.

Since transparency is a critical part of the best practices of audiology we follow, this is a great time for you to bring up any questions or concerns related to your hearing and the hearing care services we provide.

2. We Do A Physical Examination Of Your Ears

Using an otoscope (a magnifying glass with a light on a tapered tip), your Audicles audiologist will conduct a physical examination of your outer ear canal and eardrum. During an otoscopy, we assess skin conditions, earwax accumulation, the presence of obstructions in the ear canal, and the structural health of your eardrum.

At times, the only thing our patients need to restore their hearing is the removal of earwax, a bug, or some other foreign object found during an otoscopy. Other times, a growth or inflammation blocking your ear canal can be treated with medication or a simple procedure to remove the instruction to restore temporary hearing loss.

3. We Conduct A Full Panel Of Hearing Tests

Best practices for professional hearing assessments include a full series of hearing tests that pinpoint the specific type of hearing loss and its level of severity, including:

Tympanometry 

Negative pressure caused by allergies, a cold, or fluid behind the eardrum can be an indicator of a certain type of hearing loss or damage to the middle ear. For this test, you’ll just sit still and allow your audiologist to perform the examination, which will include a short burst of air into the ear canal.

Pure Tone Audiometry 

To establish your hearing threshold (the softest and loudest sounds you can hear), the next test will include a pure tone audiometry. You will be seated in a soundproof booth or room, fitted with a set of headphones, and asked to respond whenever you hear the tones transmitted through your headphones during this test

This test evaluates the levels of your hearing across a range of frequencies, helping identify specific areas of hearing loss while also providing the data we need to program hearing aids, should they be part of your prescribed hearing care treatment.

Word Recognition Test

For this test, spoken words, instead of tones, are transmitted through your headset at various pitches and volumes. You will be asked to repeat whatever you hear in order to help identify how well you understand speech.

During this test, your audiologist will also transmit background noise along with speech in order to simulate a real-world environment, helping to identify the severity of your hearing loss. This test also helps determine how amplified speech might affect you since clarity of speech is an essential element in determining whether you will succeed with hearing aids.

Bone Conduction Test

During this test, your audiologist will also fit you with a headband called a bone conduction vibrator. This headband bypasses the ear canal and the normal hearing pathway in order to directly transmit sound to your inner ear. This test helps your audiologist determine whether your hearing challenges are sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss.

Otoacoustic Emissions

Otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs, help us evaluate the condition of your inner ear. This test is used to evaluate newborn babies, children, and adults. The capacity of the hair cells in the cochlea to transmit the sound signal to the brain can be determined by measuring OAEs

For this test, your audiologist will insert a probe into your ear canal. Sounds heard by the cochlea cause vibrations that are measured by the probe.

Play Audiometry for Children

When working with children between ages 2 and 5, our audiologists use play audiometry during the hearing assessment. Play audiometry includes games, such as placing a peg in a hole or putting a block in a bucket each time your child hears a tone or speech.

Play audiometry helps your child’s audiologist determine the hearing threshold of the child and the type of hearing loss while providing a more comfortable atmosphere for young children during evaluation. For children under the age of 2, there are different tests used to evaluate hearing.

4. We Discuss Your Results

Most healthcare exams require you to wait for results while a lab or consultant reads them. With a hearing test, you’ll have your results as soon as we finish testing. Your audiologist will go through the results of each of our tests during the same appointment as your test, explaining what each result means.

Our best practices include asking for your input during this process, especially when the discussion comes to the available treatment options to address your specific type and severity of hearing loss. For us, honesty and transparency are critical to establishing the lifelong, transparent hearing care partnership that combines our expertise with your needs, objectives, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

Schedule A Comprehensive
Hearing Assessment

Are others complaining about the volume of your television? Is it difficult to enjoy a night out or family gathering due to background noise? Are friends and family harassing you about getting your ears checked? Or are you adding hearing care to your healthcare screening checklist?

A comprehensive hearing assessment is the starting point for addressing your hearing challenges.

To know the truth about your hearing, or that of a loved one, submit the adjacent form to schedule a hearing assessment today!

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With hearing loss impacting 1 in 5 of us, the data suggests that at least one special person in our lives are struggling with hearing loss. The challenge is that it’s often difficult for these people to admit that they have a challenge with their hearing or be open to seeking help.

That’s why we have developed a free white-paper to help you to understand the different ways that you can support a loved one and encourage them to get the help that they need.

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