The best way to determine if you have a hearing loss is to visit a licensed audiologist for a hearing test. The audiologist at Alexandria Hearing Centers will determine the type and severity of hearing loss you have along with identify appropriate treatment options and recommendations, or referrals to other professionals.
What tests will be done?
Our doctors of audiology will determine the specific tests to be done during the evaluation based on the patient’s age, symptoms and medical history. These various tests will determine the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. The audiologist will also establish if the hearing loss is conductive (middle or outer ear problem) or sensorineural (inner ear problem or an issue with the auditory nerve and central auditory pathways).
A diagnostic hearing evaluation begins with otoscopic examination (physical examination of the outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum).
Pure-tone and bone conduction testing
Pure-tone testing determines the quietest tones that a person can hear at different frequencies, both low and high. Bone conduction testing is similar to pure-tone, however, a different type of headset is used to provide the audiologist with different information. A bone conduction test will help the audiologist determine whether the loss is conductive in nature or sensorineural.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test is used to confirm the results of a pure-tone test. This test determines the lowest level of sound the patient can clearly identify words or speech. Word recognition score (WRS) is used to determine your ability to understand words at a conversation or elevated speech level. This test will help the audiologist set appropriate expectations of the benefits of hearing aids.
Tympanometry is used to determine the health of the ear canal and the middle ear.
Specialized tests exist for infants and young children, as well as children and adults with developmental and cognitive impairments. These more-specialized tests allow the audiologist to test the auditory system when the patient is not able to actively participate in the tests or evaluation.
What can I expect during a diagnostic hearing evaluation?
The evaluation and discussion of test results with the audiologist will last about 30 minutes in length. If the results indicate you could benefit from hearing devices the audiologist will discuss options with you.
Alexandria Hearing Centers highly recommends that you bring a family member with you to the evaluation appointment. Most audiologists agree that hearing loss can affect the entire family. It helps to have another supportive person at the appointment to help you understand the information and recommendations.
Before your appointment, a medical history will be completed and the audiologist will want to know about any complaints you have about your hearing. They will pay special attention to any concerns you have about exposure to noise, tinnitus and balance problems. Make sure that you take a full list of any medications and supplements you are taking with you to your appointment.
The diagnostic hearing evaluation is a good opportunity to establish a relationship with your audiologist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we want to be sure you are comfortable and understand your diagnosis. You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.