If you have already scheduled an appointment for a hearing test, congratulations! This is the most important step you can take to be proactive about your hearing health. Hearing loss is a common health concern that millions of people are navigating today. It is important to know that it can be experienced by anyone of any age. Assessing your hearing and receiving treatment can lead to drastic improvement of your overall well being.
You may be feeling a bit anxious and nervous about this upcoming appointment because you are unsure about what to expect. But you do not have to stress! Hearing tests are a simple, painless, and noninvasive process that is relatively quick. The purpose of a hearing test is to measure your ability to hear and process sound in both ears. In addition to detecting hearing loss, they determine the degree and type of impairment. There are 4 parts of a hearing exam:
1. Collecting Intake Information
Much like other medial and heath related appointments; you will begin by completing and reviewing intake forms with a hearing healthcare provider. These forms will provide an overview of your medical history and indicate the health concerns you have. This will include questions about any medications, medial conditions, illnesses, injuries you may have experienced. You will also be asked general questions about your life such as what you do for a living and physical/social activities you participate in.
This information is important because medical issues and medication(s) can impact your hearing health and treatment options. Also, it could help determine causes of hearing loss (if detected). Hearing impairment can be caused by a variety of factors including medical conditions, family (genetic) history, and environmental exposure to loud noise.
2. Physical Exam of Ears
After this initial intake conversation, the hearing healthcare provider will take a closer look at your ears. Using an otoscope, an instrument used to inspect the ears, they will check out your ear canal and eardrum. This allows them to check for any injuries to your ear, infection, and/or wax buildup that may be blocking sound from traveling through the ear. If necessary, the hearing specialist will remove any wax.
3. Hearing Test
This is the main part of the appointment! Using the latest technology and our expertise, we will assess your hearing ability in both ears. The test will be conducted in a quiet room designed to block any outside noise. You will be asked to wear headphones that are connected to an audiometer, a machine used to facilitate the test. The hearing healthcare professional will guide you through sounds and speech, played at different volumes and pitches. This will be done one ear at a time and you will be asked to respond to what you can hear by pressing a button to indicate that you have heard the sound. This will indicate the quietest sound you can hear and also what you experience difficulty hearing.
4. Reviewing Results
Following the hearing test, the hearing healthcare professional will review your results with you. Your results will be presented on an audiogram, which is a chart that will visually show you the softest sound you can hear in both ears – and at what frequency and pitch in addition to any sounds that are more challenging for you to hear. If hearing loss is detected, there will be a discussion of next steps and treatment options. Based on information collected during the intake process and the results from the hearing test, the hearing specialist will use your hearing health profile to make helpful recommendations. This is a great time to ask any question and get any information clarified.
There are several useful ways to treat hearing impairment that lead to more effective hearing. The most common form of treatment is hearing aids. Hearing aids are small devices that help pick up, amplify, and process sound. Today, there is a range of options that vary in styles and features. Our team will work closely with you to customize treatment to meet your specific hearing needs. With increased ability to hear, your life can truly be enhanced and your overall health can strengthen!