What Does An Audiology or Hearing Test Consist Of?

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If you or someone you know is experiencing hearing problems, you may be wondering if there is a physical problem or if you need hearing aids. Considering how important your hearing is in your day-to-day life, it is good to see an audiologist to make sure that you are properly diagnosed. The place to start is with a comprehensive audiological evaluation. We start with an examination of the ear canals, ensuring there is no blockage like earwax (cerumen), and no obvious problems with the appearance of the eardrums (tympanic membranes).

Next, a measurement called Tympanometry is done to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum and the conduction bones. Using a small amount of air pressure, and some sounds, we are able to determine how well the eardrums are moving, and what the internal pressure is behind the eardrums. This helps us to differentiate between mechanical (also known as conductive) hearing loss and nerve (sensorineural) hearing loss. The treatment for the different types of hearing problems varies.

Then, Audiometry, or measurements of sensitivity to sounds, are done. Through headphones or specialized insert earphones, the person listens for tones and responds whenever they hear the tones. In this fashion, we can determine the softest sounds a person can hear and compare that to other people within the same age bracket. Sometimes additional measurements are made with another sound generating device, called the bone conductor that further helps to define the type of hearing problem a person may be having.

Sensitivity is how softly we can hear. But, perception is how we interpret those sounds. As human beings, speech is the most important sound to us. So, we also assess how well people are hearing and understanding speech by having them repeat words at different levels, called Speech Audiometry.

Finally, everything is tied together by a thorough explanation of the evaluation results, and a discussion about how hearing loss may be affecting the person’s enjoyment of life. The good news is that most hearing problems can be helped – medically, surgically or with the use of hearing aids. Often, patients are simply counseled by our audiologists on how to maximally improve their abilities for communication.

A hearing test like the one described above can be done directly with the audiologists at Advanced Specialty Care, or in coordination with a visit with one of our ENT physicians, in any of our Fairfield County offices.

The audiologists at Advanced Audiology & Hearing Aid Services are area experts in the diagnosis and treatment of balance and hearing problems. If you need an audiologist near Norwalk, Danbury, Ridgefield, Southbury or New Milford, give Advanced Specialty Care a call today.

– Arthur Tepper, Au. D.

 

Topics: Art Tepper, Au.D., Audiology, Blog, Ear, Nose & Throat