What to Expect at Your First Hearing Test
Regular hearing tests form a crucial part of maintaining your auditory health and tending to any hearing loss or related conditions that you may be experiencing. While you may not be familiar with the process of having your hearing tested, you have nothing to worry about. It is a simple evaluation and is both painless and non-invasive.
If you have booked your hearing test and want to know more about this appointment, consider the following things you may go over while meeting with the audiologist.
Should you suffer from any hearing problems, the audiologist will want to get to the root of them in order to find the best possible treatment. With this in mind, the audiologist will start the appointment by collecting various pieces of background data.
This list of info includes but is not limited to:
- Medical background
- Family history
- Lifestyle background
- Hearing concerns
This information also gives the audiologist a chance to detect any potential hearing problems before the examinations have even started, based on how exposed to loud noises you are or any family history of auditory-related problems.
Physical inspections of the ear
The audiologist is a highly trained professional and will inspect the ears for signs of physical abnormalities or medical conditions. This process starts with the outer ear before moving on to inspect the inner ear with an otoscope, which is the handheld scope that you most commonly picture when thinking of an ear exam.
Physical inspections can identify damage to the cochlear hair cells, spot abnormalities with the skin, and check for other potential issues. In some cases, hearing problems may be due to little more than a buildup of wax. Using the otoscope allows the audiologist to confirm or dismiss this possibility.
Hearing tests and examinations
The hearing test itself is broken into several stages. This is the only way to conduct a comprehensive examination that checks every aspect of your hearing. After all, hearing loss could impact volume, tones, or the ability to separate different sounds in noisy environments.
As part of the hearing test, the audiologist may use the following exams:
- Pure-tone test: A number of sounds and tones will be played to you via headphones while you’ll be asked to press a button each time a sound is heard. This enables the audiologist to record what you can and can’t hear.
- Speech recognition test: This part of the exam is used to decipher how you hear speech without the use of visual aids. Words are played through headphones, and you’ll be asked to repeat what has been said. The test will include dialogue with and without background noise.
- Tuning fork test: The audiologist will tap the tuning fork until it vibrates and makes a sound. By holding it in various positions around your head, it’s possible to spot mechanical and nerve-related damage.
- Tympanometry test: A mechanical plug is inserted into the ear. The audiologist will set it to change the pressure inside the ear canal and then monitor how the middle ear responds, particularly in relation to fluid as well as the flexibility of the eardrum.
- Bone conduction test: A small vibrating probe is placed next to the skull, behind the ear, and the audiologist will note how sound is transmitted through the bone and inner ear. It’s a quick and painless part of the examination process.
Analysis and next steps
The comprehensive hearing test can identify the source of the hearing loss, whether it’s a temporary issue or a permanent health condition. Moreover, the audiologist can distinguish the severity of the hearing loss, ranging from mild and moderate to severe and profound hearing loss.
A clear diagnosis is one thing, but it counts for very little if it isn’t followed by the very best treatment. The audiologist can advise you about various solutions, such as:
- Hearing aid types
- Assistive listening devices (ALDs)
- Sound therapy
- Ear irrigation and wax clearing
- Coping mechanisms
- Ear protection options
With help from the audiologist, you can treat existing conditions while also learning about the best ways to protect your hearing health in the future. Furthermore, the audiologist can advise you on how often you should have your hearing tested and book your next appointment.
Book your hearing test today!
A hearing test is nothing to be frightened about, and it could be the first step to restoring a sense of normality. To learn more about what to expect or book your hearing test today, call Pacific Audiology Clinic at (503) 719-4208 today.