If you’ve recently scheduled an appointment for a hearing test at Hearing Consultants, congratulations! You’ve decided to take the first step toward improving your hearing health, which leads to significant benefits to your overall health and well-being.
You may find yourself feeling nervous about your upcoming hearing test, but there is no need to worry: a hearing test is painless and non-invasive, and it is a simple procedure from start to finish. Hearing tests are designed to gauge your abilities to receive and process sound. If a hearing loss is detected, they are also designed to determine the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, as well as the degree to which you experience it.
Here’s what to expect at a hearing test.
Consultation with Your Audiologist
When you go to meet your audiologist, you will answer a series of questions about your own medical history as well as your families. Your audiologist will ask if you are currently on any medication, if you’ve recently had a cold or ear infection, and if you were recently exposed to high volumes of noise.
You’ll also provide your audiologist with information about your job, daily life, and activities. Keep in mind the more you can share with audiologist, the more information they will have to assist you in treating your hearing needs.
Following this chat, your audiologist will examine your ears with an otoscope, an instrument that allows them to look inside your ear canal toward your eardrum. This step helps your audiologist determine if there are any injuries to your eardrum, as well as any blockage within your ear canal (such as earwax). After this examination, your hearing specialist will ask you to remove your hearing aids and/or glasses for the next portions of the hearing test.
At Hearing Consultants, we administer three different hearing tests:
Diagnostic Auditory Evaluation
You will be asked to sit in a soundproof booth and you will be asked to wear a pair of headphones through which sound will play. Your audiologist will send a series of tones of varied pitch and loudness to your ears, one at a time. They may raise the volume on each sound until you can hear it, at which point you will push a button to indicate you have heard the sound. This test provides your audiologist with information on the type, degree, and severity of hearing loss, if it is present.
This test looks closely at your middle ear, eardrum, bones of the middle ear, and Eustachian tubes. Your audiologist uses this test to determine if there are issues with the middle ear. For this test, your audiologist will use a tympanometer, which will briefly change your ear pressure for a few seconds for your audiologist to take measurements. It is painless.
Acoustic Reflex Thresholds
This final test is used to measure the contraction of your stapedius muscle (a muscle that protects our ears from loud sounds). In this test, there will be an air tight seal in your ear and a series of beeps will play. As the sounds get louder, your audiologist will measure the contraction of your stapedius muscle. Again, this test is painless and will last just a few seconds per ear.
Reviewing Your Audiogram & Next Steps
Following these tests, the results will be recorded on an audiogram, a visualization of your hearing abilities (shown individually by ear). Your hearing ability in terms of frequency and loudness, as well as brain response, will be graphed, while the speech recognition is generally recorded in the form of a percentage.
Your audiologist will explain your results and the next course of action based on the findings. These results are divided into normal hearing (no hearing loss), or varying degrees of hearing loss. Feel free to ask questions.
If a hearing loss is detected, your audiologist will present a series of treatment options to move forward. Based on your previous conversations, your audiologist will have a better sense of your lifestyle needs and will make recommendations accordingly. Our friendly team at Hearing Consultants will assist you in determining the next steps to best treat your hearing.