What to Expect at a Hearing Test
Your Health History
Your hearing is part of your total health, even if you don’t always think of it that way. Hearing is connected to your heart health and cognitive performance as well as aspects of your mental and emotional well-being. Some types of medications can even encourage hearing loss. Your hearing specialist will start your test by doing a health overview to see if there may be any factors that may play into your hearing health.
You should tell your hearing specialist about any changes or issues you’ve noticed with your hearing and balance. If you are having trouble hearing, we’ll want to know when you notice the most difficult and how long it has been happening. We’ll also want to know if you experience tinnitus - a ringing in your ears- as it can indicate hearing damage and we can help you explore tinnitus management strategies. We may ask some questions about your lifestyle -such as whether your hearing issues impact your job- so we can better connect you with solutions that fit your needs.
After the physical exam, your hearing test will include an in-depth test of your hearing performance. In a quiet, soundproofed room, usually with while headphones you’ll be asked to respond every time you hear a tone played. The tones will sound at different volumes and frequencies to screen for problem areas in your hearing. The sounds will play at random intervals from random directions and your job while taking the test is to simply indicate each time you hear a tone.
When the tone test is complete, we will have generated a chart for your hearing responses called an audiogram. The audiogram graphs the responses by how accurately you responded to the different tone frequencies. It will chart a line for each ear - our sense of hearing is not always symmetrical, and often one ear experiences more issues than the other.
The audiogram is how we locate hearing loss. Significant hearing loss is present if areas in your audiogram show trouble detecting tones. The audiogram is also a map for creating solutions to hearing loss. By knowing what sounds are the most difficult for you to hear, modern hearing aids can be programmed to precisely enhance sounds when you need it.
After these three stages of your hearing test are finished, it is time to evaluate how you hear and if hearing loss is present what the best courses of treatment are. If your hearing is healthy, that’s wonderful news! We’ll see you next year for your annual hearing evaluation, or sooner if any issues arise. If significant hearing loss is present, it will be time to look at options for action. While most cases of hearing loss are permanent, hearing loss can be effectively managed, most often using hearing aids. The earlier hearing loss is found the more fluidly your hearing can adjust and adapt to assistive devices like hearing aids, to restore a fuller range of hearing.
There is a wide range of features and styles that can be included in a hearing aid. Based on your lifestyle needs, we’ll walk you through options you may benefit from. For people who mostly communicate with their friends and family by phone, a hearing aid the can stream audio from a smart phone directly to your hearing aid may be an important option. Many people with tinnitus benefit from tinnitus therapy options built into their hearing aid.