If you suspect that you may be suffering from hearing loss, then you are not alone. According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 15 percent of adults over 18 report some difficulty hearing. The best way to confirm the presence of hearing loss is to schedule a hearing test with a trained audiologist. Whether you are visiting an audiology specialist for the first time or you are returning for a check-up, it is helpful to know what to expect when your hearing is tested. Below is a look at the key components of a typical hearing test and how you should plan for your upcoming evaluation.
Step One: We will talk to you about your hearing health
Before we begin the hearing test, we will ask you some questions about your general health history as well as your hearing health. During this initial discussion, we will ask questions about the hearing-related symptoms you are experiencing. We may also ask about your employment duties and extra-curricular activities and how they may have impacted your hearing.
Step Two: We will conduct a physical examination of your ear
After we gather information about your hearing health, we will use a handheld medical device called an otoscope to take a look inside your ear canal. This allows us to assess the health of your eardrum and look for signs of inflammation. We will also be able to see if ear wax has accumulated in your ear canal, which can impede your hearing.
Step Three: We will test four aspects of your hearing
Upon completion of your physical ear examination, we will begin the testing process. During this phase of your visit, we will take you to a special testing booth and provide you with a set of headphones that will play a series of different sounds. You will be asked to give us a signal when you hear specific sounds and we will monitor your feedback. Here is a summary of some of the hearing aspects that we will test during this step:
- Tone: During this phase of the test, we will assess how well you are able to hear varying sound pitches ranging from low to high
- Bone Conduction: We will place a bone vibrator behind your ear to test your inner ear’s responsiveness to sound
- Eardrum Motion: During this part of the test, we will assess how your eardrum vibrates when sounds are generated
- Speech: We will look at your ability to hear and understand speech with and without background noise
Step Four: We will analyze your test results
Upon completion of the hearing test, we will review your results to determine whether your hearing is damaged. We will discuss the results of your test and evaluate how your hearing loss may impact your daily life. If we determine that your condition can be treated, we will review various treatment options with you and answer any questions you may have.
How should you plan for your hearing test?
Now that you know a bit about how a hearing test will unfold, you may wonder how you can prepare for your upcoming test. The most important thing to remember is to follow the instructions you receive when you schedule your appointment. Try to arrive 15 to 30 minutes in advance of your appointment to ensure that you are not late, and plan to spend 30 to 60 minutes at your appointment. The testing process itself should take approximately 30 minutes, with the exact amount of time depending on your individual situation. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind:
- You can return to work or normal activities following your hearing test
- The testing process is sometimes different with small children; we can tell you how to prepare your child for testing
- The testing process is not painful
What should you do today if you have difficulty hearing?
If you are having difficulty hearing properly, the single best step you can take is to schedule a visit with an experienced audiologist today. A comprehensive hearing test can help determine whether you have hearing loss as well as the level of severity of your hearing loss. Additionally, a hearing test can provide valuable insight regarding the best way to treat your hearing loss.
We invite you to contact us at Clarity Hearing to discover why we are Houston’s most trusted team of audiology specialists. Our team of doctors and specialists have the tools and expertise to test your hearing and deliver an accurate diagnosis. And with four convenient locations, we strive to make it easy for you to have your hearing tested no matter where you live in the Houston area. We look forward to becoming your trusted resource for all of your hearing health needs!
Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.