Do You Need a Hearing Test?
Can you hear me?
I said - do you need a HEARING test!?
Hearing is something we tend to take for granted. In fact, sometimes hearing loss goes unnoticed.
It is important that infants through seniors be screened for hearing capacity. Hearing tests should be conducted annually. Ask your primary care physician.
A hearing screening is a simple “pass” or “fail” test. Its purpose is to determine if you have normal hearing or not. It usually consists of a series of beeps or tones at the limit of normal range to see if you are able to hear them. A screening will test your hearing across all different pitches, but it is not sufficient to determine the type or degree of hearing loss. It will only tell you if there is evidence of hearing loss.
A hearing evaluation (or hearing exam) is a comprehensive examination performed by a licensed audiologist or hearing instrument specialist that includes a review of your full case history and several types of hearing tests. It also includes counseling to help you understand and interpret the results. Based on the findings, your provider will make recommendations and prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include hearing aids. Here are some tests you can expect.
Air conduction: During this test, your provider will ask you to listen to tones through head phones to identify what is the faintest tone you can hear at a different pitches.
Pure tone bone conduction: This test uses a small vibrator behind the ear that bypasses any in-ear sound blockage and sends tones directly to the hearing organs of the inner ear.
Speech testing: This will check your ability to understand spoken words in a quiet or noisy environment.
Speech reception: This test will help determine the faintest level at which you can understand spoken words.
The goal of the hearing evaluation is to give your provider a complete picture of your unique hearing loss profile. It will determine whether your hearing loss is a result of problems in the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, or a combination. With this knowledge, your provider can determine the appropriate treatment for you.
Although a hearing screening can alert you to potential hearing problems, a full hearing evaluation performed by a licensed provider is important to fully understand and address your hearing loss effectively.
Excerpt from Heather Dooley, Au.D, CCC-A