You’ve recently booked yourself in for a hearing test and you are feeling rather nervous and apprehensive about your appointment. You’ve done the right thing, though, and let us at Audiology Associates reassure you that there’s nothing to worry about.
A hearing test is the first step towards improving your hearing health. Your hearing is precious, and by seeking treatment now, we’ll do everything we can to preserve it.
Your first hearing test will determine whether you actually have a hearing loss and if it is mild or severe. If you do have a hearing loss, we will then define what type of hearing loss it is – sensorineural, conductive, or mixed. Your treatment will depend on the type you have, but it could be medicines, hearing aids, a bone-anchored hearing system, or cochlear implants.
Nevertheless, we are here for every step of your better hearing journey. That’s why we’ve put together this article to explain what will happen at your appointment so you can relax and stay worry free.
A medical recap
Once you are greeted by our receptionist, one of our audiologists will call you into an office for a chat. There are different medical conditions and factors that can be attributed to hearing loss, so we’d like to find out about your medical history and lifestyle.
Because hearing loss can sometimes be genetic, we’ll ask if any other family members have a hearing loss. Your recent health will also be considered. Colds, ear infections, allergies, and even earwax can cause hearing trouble.
Head injuries can also cause hearing loss. Any head trauma should be mentioned.
We’ll also ask about your work and lifestyle. Often patients who work in loud environments, such as factories or in construction, or are exposed to loud music can develop noise-induced hearing loss.
Finally, we will ask you to explain any specific issues you are having with your hearing and how this is affecting your life. From here, we’ll move on to the hearing test.
Taking the test
From this hearing test, we will determine what you can and cannot hear and the type of hearing loss you have. The test will also serve another purpose – it will be used as a baseline to find out if there are any changes to your hearing at future appointments.
There are two parts to the test – pure tone audiometry and speech tone audiometry.
The pure tone audiometry test will tell us the softest levels of sound that you are able to hear at each frequency. You will wear headphones and there will be a button for you to press. Each time you hear a sound, you will press the button. An audiometer will record your results and print them off in a graph, which we’ll review later.
Next, the speech tone audiometry test will find out the lowest volume in which you can hear and understand words and how well you can understand and distinguish the differences between them.
First, you’ll be asked to repeat a list of words that will be read to you at various volume levels. Then we’ll read to you a series of words and ask you to repeat them.
We always perform a comprehensive test battery, including tympanometry, which will check your acoustic reflexes and Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAE’s). We also perform speech in noise testing routinely. During these tests, a soft plug will be placed onto your ear. A combination of pressure changes and various sounds will tell us how well your eardrum moves and how good your middle ear muscles’ reflexive responses are.
The results are in
As soon as you finish the hearing test, your results will be ready for review. We’ll print out your audiogram, which will show us the softest sounds that you can hear at different frequency levels. Your right ear and left ear will have separate results. From this information, we can determine your level of hearing loss.
If you have a hearing loss, we’ll explain which type you have and the best treatment options. If hearing aids are suitable, we’ll talk about the different types that are available and which ones would help you the most.
However, the decision is up to you whether to proceed with hearing aids or not. We will also discuss the negative effects of untreated hearing loss. You’ll learn everything you need to know in order to make a decision.
At Audiology Associates, our doctors and staff are committed to helping our patients on their journey to better hearing. With nine convenient Maryland locations, we offer you individualized care and support. Book your hearing test today by contacting Audiology Associates here.