Your Center for Comprehensive Hearing Assessments

You’ve been pretty good about having your eyes tested, scheduling regular dental checkups and annual physicals, and you monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure, but when was your last hearing test?

In spite of the fact that hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in the US, behind arthritis and heart disease, a hearing assessment is probably close to the bottom rather than at the top of your list of health screening priorities. The sad reality is that most people put off hearing tests until it becomes difficult to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers.

Statistics show that, on average, individuals experiencing hearing loss wait between 7 and 10 years after noticing the first signs of a hearing challenge before scheduling a hearing test, increasing the amount of damage and severity of a condition that would have been easy to treat if addressed sooner.

If you’re looking for a hearing testing center near you, Clarity Hearing operates clinics in
Conroe, The Woodlands, Tomball, Houston, and Wharton. Our hearing care specialists conduct comprehensive hearing assessments designed to identify your unique type of hearing loss and its severity.

Schedule Your Comprehensive Hearing Assessment

Super nice staff and audiologist. I was given all the info and results of my hearing test at the end of my appointment. They make you feel at ease with a very welcoming atmosphere. A very good experience for something I was a bit nervous about. 

Al

Audiology professionals using latest technologies, their service is first class and the environment makes you very comfortable during the tests. Very knowledgeable of the products they provide.

RMH

My experience with Dr. Jamie Hawkins has been nothing but excellent. Her professionalism, her thoughtfulness and patience are virtues. I highly appreciate and recommend.

Gloria B.

What are the signs of hearing loss?

Hearing loss tends to sneak up on you, which is one of the reasons that you’ve probably been putting off hearing care. Keep in mind that even if you’re not experiencing hearing loss, having a baseline hearing assessment against which any future changes will be measured is something that you should do if you’re over the age of 50.

Here are ten key signs of hearing loss to help you recognize your own hearing loss or that of a friend, coworker, or loved one.

Female patient at Clarity Hearing during a hearing assessment

#1 – You get irritated at others for mumbling

The first thing that begins to deteriorate is your ability to discern high-frequency sounds like “ch” and “sh” and other consonants, making it seem like others aren’t speaking clearly.

An example: “The elephant has a long trunk that can be used to grab trees,” a person with hearing loss might hear “__e ele__a__ _a_ a long _run_ tha_ _an be us__ _o grab _ree_”.

#2 – You struggle to follow conversations if someone is not facing you

Even without consonants, most people pick up lots of speech cues from context, facial expressions, and lip reading. Consequently, as long as people are facing you, you can bluff your way through a conversation.

#3 – Talking on the phone is becoming difficult for you

The telephone completely removes your ability to lean on visual cues, revealing the truth about your hearing. Additionally, many people can only talk on the phone with their “good ear,” indicating they could be suffering from hearing loss in one ear.

#4 – Some sounds seem louder than normal

People don’t lose all the hair cells in the inner ear at the same time; some louder sounds trigger the healthy cells to respond more forcefully than usual, so some sounds are jarring, or even distorted.

#5 – It's harder for you to enjoy a conversation in a restaurant or at a social event

Background noise is a problem for everyone. However, those with normal hearing are able to screen out certain types of noise, like traffic, but at a party or in a restaurant, those with hearing loss begin to struggle with the ability to screen out competing voices nearby and focus on a specific conversation in front of them.

#6 – It seems like everyone is telling you to turn down your TV

You probably have no idea that the volume on your TV is getting louder, but you may have noticed that you have to turn down your TV to hear someone ask you to turn it down.

#7 – You feel a little bit unsteady on your feet

Your inner ear not only processes sound, but it is also a critical part of your body’s system of balance. As the components of your inner ear begin to deteriorate, you experience balance issues as well as hearing loss.

#8 – You forget things that others tell you

When you don’t hear things clearly, you struggle to remember what was said, but the issue is worse than you think. Hearing loss often coincides with cognitive decline, which can lead to short term memory loss.

#9 – You don't get jokes like you used to

When a punchline is told in a funny way or it’s a play on words, you may not be able to decipher all the words, so you don’t get the joke. This is another effect of both hearing and cognitive processes failing to work together.

#10 – It’s easier for you to be distracted

Concentration is another aspect of cognitive decline that is also related to hearing loss. As your hearing goes, you need to focus more intently in order to sort out what someone is saying, but you may be struggling to decode what is being said during a conversation or lack the energy to concentrate.

What Happens During a Hearing Assessment?

Do you have hearing loss? A comprehensive hearing assessment is the only way to know for sure. If you’re not familiar with what happens during a hearing assessment, we’d like to help set your mind at ease with a rundown of what happens during a hearing assessment at our hearing test center.

After welcoming you to our clinic, we’ll make sure you feel at home while you wait for your appointment. When your audiologist is available, a member of our friendly team will guide you to the consultation room where your hearing test will take place.

#1 – A Friendly Conversation

Our audiologists start the audiological evaluation with a friendly conversation about you, not because we’re nosey, but because we enjoy the opportunity to know you better and we want to make sure you’re at ease.

During our conversation, we’ll ask questions about your:

  • Occupation
  • Lifestyle (hobbies, special interests, and leisure activities)
  • Medical history
  • Medications you’re taking
  • History of hearing problems in your family.

From our initial conversation, we’re able to identify various activities, medical conditions and/or genetic tendencies that might contribute to your hearing challenges. You’re encouraged to ask us questions about hearing loss, treatment and our practice as well.

#2 – A Physical Examination of Your Ears

The next phase of a Clarity Hearing comprehensive hearing assessment is a physical examination of your ears using an otoscope (a magnifying glass with a light on a tapered tip). This part of the evaluation allows us to rule out or confirm any damage to the structures of your ear canal and eardrum.

Skin conditions, inflammation, earwax accumulation, or the presence of other obstructions in your ear canal can cause temporary hearing loss, and can even damage the eardrum. In some cases, removing earwax, a bug, or some other foreign object may restore your hearing, while in others, medications to reduce inflammation or the removal of a growth provides the solution to hearing loss.

#3 – What we test during a hearing assessment

Best practices for professional hearing assessments include a full series of hearing tests that help us zero in on the specific type of hearing loss and its level of severity.

The tests your audiologist is likely to use during your hearing assessment could include:

Tympanometry

A tympanometry involves a short burst of air into your ear canal to evaluate the reaction of the middle ear. Allergies, colds, or fluid behind the eardrum produce negative pressure during this test.

Pure Tone Audiometry

In order to determine the softest and loudest sound you can hear at different frequencies, we use a test known as a pure tone audiometry. For this test, you will be seated in a soundproof booth and fitted with a set of headphones.

You will be asked to respond each time you hear one of the tones transmitted through the headphones, allowing us to chart your levels of hearing on an audiogram.

Word Recognition Testing

This test is similar to the pure tone audiometry, except we’ll transmit spoken words through the headphones rather than tones. You will be asked to repeat or respond to what you hear. For a real-world evaluation of your ability to understand speech, we’ll also add in background noise to test how your hearing responds in noisy environments.

Bone Conduction Testing

For this test, we’ll use a specialized headband known as a bone conduction vibrator. The headband allows us to transmit sounds that bypass the hearing pathway and go directly into your inner ear, or cochlea, in order to rule out or confirm sensorineural hearing loss.

Otoacoustic Emissions

Otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs, are vibrations that occur when sound reaches the cochlea. This test uses a probe to measure these vibrations, evaluating how the hair cells in the cochlea transmit the sound signals to the brain.

Play Audiometry for Children

When working with children between the ages 2 and 5, we do our best to help your child relax and feel comfortable during their hearing assessment. Using games like placing a peg in a hole or a block in a bucket, each time your child hears a tone or speech, makes testing a bit easier. Young children can be pretty unpredictable, but we’re successful most of the time.

#4 – Discussing Your Results

Unlike many medical tests, we have the results as soon as we finish your hearing assessment, allowing your audiologist to sit down with you and go over your audiogram and other results during the same visit. Regardless of the outcome of your testing, we encourage you to ask questions and provide input, especially in relation to various treatment options.

If your results indicate normal hearing, your audiologist will go over various risks related to your lifestyle choices, activities, and hobbies and recommend measures that can help prevent hearing loss.

A senior male sitting inside hearing booth

Schedule a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment

Is it becoming more and more difficult to enjoy a night out or family gathering because of background noise? Are others complaining about the volume of your television or are your friends and family harassing you to “get your ears checked?”

These, and other, signs of hearing loss should be enough to encourage you to make hearing tests a higher priority on your list of healthcare maintenance. Just contact us using the adjacent form in order to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with a doctor of audiology at Clarity Hearing so you can find out the truth about your hearing.

Conroe, TX

936-788-2212

Wharton, TX

979-488-2912

Tomball, TX

936-273-4437

North Cypress, TX

281-763-7960

The Woodlands, TX

936-273-4437