A hearing evaluation is an in-depth assessment of an individual’s hearing by an audiologist. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the nature and degree of the hearing loss and the best treatment options. Audiologists use a number of different tests in this evaluation.
What happens during a hearing test?
When you arrive for your hearing exam, you will be greeted by the front office staff and asked to fill out several forms, including those that record your personal information, medical history and insurance verification.
When your hearing exam begins, your audiologist will review key personal information with you and will ask you a few questions to discover the specific types of environments in which you may be experiencing hearing loss and hearing problems.
Next, your audiologist may look into your ears by using an otoscope. This instrument is used to see the ear canal and the eardrum and whether or not there is earwax obstructing the canal. Sometimes the audiologist will have a video otoscope, so you can see inside your ear as well.
This testing will enable your audiologist to determine:
- Whether or not a hearing loss exists
- The possible cause of any hearing loss
- The degree and type of hearing loss and whether the loss exists in one or both ears
- The best treatment options
Types of Hearing Tests
You will be tested using a series of low and high frequency words to determine your ability to understand verbiage within a short distance (as in a conversation). We will also give you several words to repeat. The results will help us determine your percentage of hearing loss, your ability to understand speech and if hearing aids will help you.
Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the conduction bones, by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal.
Your clinician will also conduct tests of listening and speech. These results are also recorded on the audiogram. One test that the clinician conducts during a hearing test is the speech reception threshold (SRT). This is used with older children and adults, and helps to confirm the pure-tone test results. The SRT records the faintest speech that can be heard half the time. Then the audiologist will also record word recognition or the ability to correctly repeat back words at a comfortable loudness level.
Speech testing may be done in a quiet or noisy environment. Difficulty understanding speech in background noise is a common complaint of people with hearing loss, and this information is helpful.
Hearing Test Results
The results of your tests will be recorded on a form called an audiogram, which your clinician will review with you. The audiogram reflects your hearing loss in frequencies and decibels. You will be shown the type, pattern and degree of hearing loss, as well as the percentage of normal conversational speech that you are still able to hear.
Your audiologist will then relate these results to your concerns about your hearing. The next step is to consider treatment solutions. You can count on our team taking the time necessary to understand your concerns so that they can provide you with everything you need to make an informed personal decision.