Having your hearing thoroughly tested is simple and painless. It is also the first critical step towards treating hearing loss and transforming your health. Learning about what you can expect from a hearing test can help alleviate any anxiety or stress you could be feeling about it. It can also help you best prepare for your hearing consultation appointment, helping you feel at ease. A hearing consultation appointment involves your hearing healthcare provider learning about your hearing history as well as assessing your hearing capacities. You can expect the following:
- Hearing Health History: Similar to most medical appointments, this one starts with an intake process that you are likely familiar with. This includes discussing your hearing health history and anything that could impact it like genetics. You will also be asked about symptoms you’ve been experiencing, specific concerns you have, as well as lifestyle factors that impact hearing health. This includes the type of environment you work in, hobbies or activities you regularly engage in, daily practices like listening to music etc. This is important because it could reveal potential factors that are contributing to any symptoms you could be experiencing. Also, learning more about your lifestyle also informs treatment options that could easily integrate into your daily life.
- Physical Ear Inspection: The next step is closely examining your ears. Hearing healthcare specialists use an otoscope which is an instrument specifically designed for the ears. They will examine your outer ear and ear canal, checking for anything that could be contributing to symptoms. This includes anything like accumulated earwax, growths, a perforated eardrum etc. These physical obstructions can prevent sound from being fully absorbed and processed. If needed, they may remove earwax before moving onto the hearing test. This inspection also helps determine the type of hearing loss you could be experiencing. Damage to the outer and middle ear can produce conductive hearing loss which is often temporary and can be corrected through medical treatment. It is caused by physical obstructions, accumulated earwax, ear infections etc. which are treatable.
- Pure Tone Audiometry Testing: There are few different types of hearing tests your hearing healthcare provider can facilitate. One of the most common is pure tone audiometry testing which involves listening to tones at different volumes and pitches. You will wear headphones that are connected to an audiometer – a machine that plays these sounds. Guided by your hearing healthcare specialist, you will indicate the sounds you can hear. This identifies the softest sounds you are able to perceive and process at each tested frequency.
- Results: your results are captured in real time and are collected on what’s called an audiogram. This is a chart that plots your results in decibels (dB)which are units of measurements sound is measured in. These points will be plotted for all tested frequencies and show your hearing thresholds – including the types of sounds you are able to hear and the sounds that are more challenging for you. Your hearing healthcare provider will walk you through these results and discuss the specifics of your hearing loss. Hearing loss exists on a spectrum: from mild to severe and is measured by decibels:
- Normal hearing: 0 – 25dB
- Mild hearing loss: 26 – 40 dB
- Moderate hearing loss: 41 – 70 dB
- Severe hearing loss: 71 – 90 dB
- Profound hearing loss: greater than 91 dB
Once the specific type and degree of hearing loss you are experiencing is identified, your
hearing healthcare provider is able to recommend effective treatment options to meet
your hearing needs.
- Next Steps: the most common way hearing loss is treated is with hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are equipped with advanced technology that absorbs, amplifies, and processes speech as well as sound. Your hearing healthcare provider will help you navigate your hearing aid options – types, styles, and features that would best meet your needs. Once you select a device and depending on the specific style, they may take impressions of your ear to customize the pieces, ensuring a perfect fit. During your hearing aid fitting which is the follow-up appointment, your provider will program your hearing aid with the most optimal settings that will maximize your hearing capacity. You will also learn all about your device during this appointment.
Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. We look forward to helping you prioritize and transform your hearing health.