Hearing loss affects millions of Americans and is the third most common health problem among older adults in the United States. A diagnostic hearing test is the first step in identifying hearing loss. A hearing test determines a person’s current hearing status and categorizes hearing loss in terms of type (location of the hearing loss) and degree (how much hearing loss is present). Results of a hearing evaluation help your Audiologist identify the cause of the hearing loss and will also assist in determining appropriate rehabilitation recommendations.
The specific diagnostic tests performed depend on current symptoms, age, cognitive status, and hearing health history.
Comprehensive hearing testing may include:
- Medical History Intake – determines risk factors for hearing loss and alerts the Audiologist to any medical concerns
- Visual Inspection – looking at the outer portion of the ear for any abnormalities
- Otoscopic Inspection – involves looking into the ear canal with an instrument called an otoscope
- Tympanometry – measures the movement of the ear drum and the middle ear
- Hearing Threshold Testing – determines the faintest tone a person can hear at specific pitches (frequencies)
- Speech Reception Threshold – determines the softest level at which a person can correctly recognize words
- Word Recognition Testing – determines the optimal ability to understand speech
- Acoustic Reflex Testing – measures a reflex generated by small muscles located in the middle ear
- Tinnitus Evaluation – self assessment of tinnitus and measurements to best match pitch (frequency) and volume (intensity) or the tinnitus. Tinnitus is the presence of a sound in the ear or head not generated by an external source.
Your Audiologist will thoroughly review the results of your evaluation with you, providing an interpretation of your test results and how your hearing may functionally impact you. Your audiologist will work with you to formulate a rehabilitation plan if indicated by your results and needs. If a referral to a specialist is indicated, your Audiologist will provide you a recommendation to a trusted specialist. Our goal is to educate you on your hearing health so that you are an active participant in hearing healthcare solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.