The hearing exam really is the easy part. The difficult part is acknowledging your hearing loss and actually reserving the hearing test in the first place.
You have probably heard the statistics by now: 48 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss but only a minor fraction actually do anything about it, and only 20 percent of those who could reap benefits from hearing aids actually use them.
So if you’ve already scheduled your hearing test, congrats, you’ve already overcome the most significant impediment to healthier hearing.
The hearing test, as you’ll witness, is a simple and easy, non-invasive process that will establish the degree of your hearing loss to help develop the best suited method of treatment.
After you initially arrive at the office, you’ll start by filling out some paperwork. Then, you’ll consult with your hearing care professional to review your hearing health history.
Your Hearing Health History
Your hearing loss, if existing, can be caused by direct exposure to loud noise, the normal aging process, or by an underlying condition. You’ll want to exclude any underlying conditions prior to moving on to the actual hearing exam.
If you have an impaction of earwax, as an example, you may very well be hearing better within minutes after a professional cleaning. The existence of any other ailments will be evaluated and the appropriate referral made, if required.
After going over your basic medical history, you’ll go over your exposure to loud sounds, your hearing loss symptoms, and exactly what you wish to achieve with better hearing.
It’s very important to determine potential causes, how symptoms are affecting your life, and how better hearing will improve your life, which is after all the whole point. Be suspicious of the practitioner that doesn’t seem to care about the reasons why you want to improve your hearing to begin with.
The Hearing Test
There’s one additional step to take prior to starting the hearing test: the visual examination of the ear with an instrument known as an otoscope. This will help rule out any problems with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the abnormal buildup of earwax.
Next, you’ll be accompanied to a sound-treated room with your hearing care provider. You’ll be asked to wear headphones, and the specialist will start to play you some sounds.
You will be presented with a variety of sounds at multiple frequencies, and you’ll be asked to identify the quietest sounds you can hear at each pitch. This is termed your hearing threshold, and the hearing care professional will document these values on a graph called an audiogram.
The hearing test may also include speech testing, where you’ll be instructed to repeat the words presented to you. Assorted types of words, delivered at various volumes with and without background noise, will be presented. This will help ascertain if hearing aids can help you with speech comprehension.
When the hearing test is completed, your hearing care provider will review the results with you.
Assessing Your Hearing Test Results
Referencing your audiogram, your hearing care professional will now discuss your hearing in both ears. Based on the results, your hearing will be characterized as normal or as exhibiting mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.
If a hearing loss is present, the next move is discussing your treatment options. Seeing as there are no existing medical or surgical treatments to repair hearing damage, this means examining your hearing aid options.
Today’s hearing aids come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and colors, at a variety of price points with several advanced features. In choosing your hearing aids, it’s essential to work with an experienced hearing care professional for three main reasons:
- They can help you find the ideal hearing aid model to meet all of your goals.
- They can help you determine the advanced features you need—as well as with the ones you don’t—at a price that suits your budget.
- They can program your new hearing aids to amplify only the sounds you have difficulty hearing—established by the hearing test—ensuring optimal sound quality.
And that’s it, a fast, easy procedure in return for a lifetime of healthier hearing. We’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
We look forward to seeing you!