Hearing Tests at Advanced Specialty Care in Connecticut
Providing hearing testing and hearing appointments in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk, Ridgefield and throughout Fairfield County Connecticut
Audiologists administer tests to determine whether someone can hear within the normal range. If hearing loss is present, Audiologists will determine the type of loss and degree/severity of loss, in order to determine the best plan of action.
Considering how important hearing is in your day-to-day life, the Audiologists at Advanced Specialty Care provide patients with a comprehensive audiological evaluation to ensure that your hearing loss is properly diagnosed and treated. Our audiologists are specially trained to administer a variety of hearing tests and audiological evaluations for patients of all ages including infants, children and adults as well as evaluate the results and provide counseling and treatment to patients.
The treatment for different types of hearing problems varies which is why it’s important to seek proper testing and evaluation.
Physical Examination and Discussion
All evaluations begin with a physical 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). This is also a time to discuss how hearing loss may be impacting the patient’s quality of life and daily functions.
Tympanometry tests 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 can 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.
Audiometry measures a person’s sensitivity, or ability to hear various sounds which are important for our understanding of speech. Through headphones or specialized insert earphones, the person listens for tones and responds whenever they hear the tones. By doing this, 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 word recognition is how we interpret those sounds. With speech audiometry, we assess how well people are hearing and understanding speech by having them repeat words at different volumes.
Children’s Hearing Tests at Advanced Specialty Care
Depending on a child’s age and abilities, our audiologists may use a variety of techniques to evaluate hearing. All hearing testing involves presenting a known stimulus (a calibrated sound) to the child and looking for a response to that signal.
Because newborns and younger children can’t be expected to raise their hand or say a word in response to hearing a sound, children’s hearing tests use alternative, child-friendly methods such as games and toys as part of the testing.
Additionally, we aim to gain a measure of how well a child is interpreting speech, whether it’s repeating specific test words through the headphones, or pointing to a picture of the word they’ve heard.
Play Audiometry Test
Play audiometry is commonly used for preschoolers and toddlers. With play audiometry, we make a game out of hearing testing—instead of raising a hand when the sound is heard, a different response is called for – a fun action. For example, we often have the child put a colorful block into a bucket each time the sound is heard. Filling up the bucket is part of the game. The child may be sitting on a parent’s lap, or alone, and we usually have some assistance from the parent or a sibling – such as holding the bucket or giving the next block – so that all may be involved with the game.
The audiologist controls the equipment to make a different range of sounds to prompt the response. We want this to be a positive experience for children and their families filled with praise and encouragement.
Otoacoustic Emissions Test
An otoacoustic emissions test is another evaluation tool we often use for children during their visit. This test is performed by emitting soft sounds into the ear and measuring the inner ear’s response to these sounds. This test is often used with infants and other children who may not be able to physically respond to other hearing tests.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
Auditory Brainstem Response is a common test used for infant hearing evaluations to measure how the hearing nerve responds to sounds. ABR is assessed by placing electrodes on the head and introducing a series of clicks or tone beeps into each ear where the electrodes measure the nerve activity. ABR is safe and painless and no response is required from the patient. ABR is also used for teens and adults.
Hospitals have different protocols for doing one or both tests (otoacoustic and ABR). If a baby fails the screening at the hospital, is born at home or elsewhere, or if recommended by their pediatrician, they may have repeat testing of one or both tests.
If you have questions about hearing tests or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Advanced Specialty Care to speak to our Audiologists today. We work with patients of all ages focusing on hearing and balance disorders through identification, evaluation and rehabilitation. Our offices are located in Danbury, New Milford, Norwalk and Ridgefield, CT.