If you suspect you have a hearing loss, the thought of visiting an audiologist can be a little overwhelming, especially for a patient on their first visit as they do not know what to expect – they don’t know what happens during a hearing test.
Hearing loss can affect absolutely anyone, of any age and it progresses so gradually that it can often be hard to notice at first until the time where symptoms cannot be mistaken. Because hearing loss can have a detrimental effect on other aspects of a person’s life and wellness, it is so important to make the decision to visit an audiologist who can diagnose and treat you, but more than that, create an ongoing relationship whereby your hearing health is checked yearly to ensure the best plan of action for you as an individual.
The hearing test will not only determine if you do have a hearing loss but also how mild or severe it is. Your audiologist will also be able to discuss any treatment options and define the type of hearing loss that you have and whether any medical treatment might be needed.
Getting to know you
The first step when visiting a hearing healthcare specialist will be discussing your own personal and familial medical and hearing health history. You can discuss your concerns and share your experiences that have led to you making an appointment for a hearing health check. Because there are so many varied causes of hearing loss, it’s really helpful for our professionals to know about a patient’s history because there could be genetic reasons for hearing loss or something medical related such as ear infections, allergies, impacted ear wax, and even head colds. Our expert will also need to know if you have ever suffered any head or ear trauma as this type of injury can result in hearing loss.
The hearing test
The most important thing to note here is that hearing tests are totally painless and they are non-invasive.
You will wear headphones that are connected to an audiometer – this is an instrument that conducts the test.
Part of the test is looking at pure tone audiometry where you will listen to tones at varying pitches and volumes. Your hearing care professional provides instructions through the headphones you are wearing and you need to listen to the tones and respond to each one you can hear. Each time you hear a sound, you will click a button. The test is looking to find out the softest sounds you are able to hear.
Another aspect we look at is speech audiometry. The process is very similar to that of the pure tone section but with speech audiometry, the sounds you hear will be words instead of tones. We use recorded or live speech and evaluate the softest speech sounds you can hear. You will be asked to repeat the words you can hear back to the hearing healthcare practitioner; this test looks at your word recognition ability and your ability to understand speech.
Sometimes, the practitioner may want to perform tympanometry which tests your acoustic reflexes. A soft plug is placed in the ear which measures just how well your eardrum moves and also measures the middle ear muscles’ reflex response.
It’s as straightforward as that for you – absolutely nothing to be concerned about. It’s quick, painless, and you don’t have to wait for the results either.
After the test is complete, we will sit down and discuss your results with you right away, avoiding an anxious wait. We will show you a graph called an audiogram. There are two lines on the chart, one for each ear, and it’s a visual representation of the softest sounds you were able to hear during the hearing test. From this graph, we can determine whether you do have a hearing loss and the degree of hearing loss you have.
Results are always explained thoroughly. You can ask us as many questions as you like and if treatment is needed, we will go through all of your options with you in detail to help you make an informed decision that is best for you. If hearing aids would be a good option for you, we can recommend which ones would be best. It’s completely up to you if you decide to purchase any hearing aids, but we will be sure to discuss the consequences of not following up with any recommendations that have been made based on the results of your hearing test.
Whatever you decide, you can be confident you will receive the very best care and be provided with all of the information you need to make your final decision.
If you feel the time is right to get booked in for a hearing health check, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Audicles.