Comprehensive hearing evaluations are important tools in your overall hearing health; they are used to measure the sensitivity of your hearing, and can identify any potential problems early on, when treatment options are plentiful and have a better chance of succeeding. Audiologists depend on them to help figure out a solid direction for treatment.
Many people with hearing loss don’t even realize there is a problem. Symptoms often appear so gradually, there is no noticeable change from day to day. The first inclination of impairment might not occur until it has progressed to an advanced stage, and by then, treatment options may be limited. The sooner hearing loss is detected, the better your odds of leading a normal, productive life. Comprehensive hearing evaluations will help ensure this.
Your hearing evaluation will begin with a thorough review of your medical history. Your audiologist will ask questions about your hearing, and examine your ears with a lighted instrument known as an otoscope. Finally, you’ll be given a series of hearing tests to determine whether you have a hearing loss and, if so, to what extent.
Different Types of Hearing Tests
A comprehensive hearing evaluation usually includes a number of different tests to measure your hearing ability. An audiometer test utilizes tones at varying frequencies and volumes to determine your hearing sensitivity. Results are plotted on an audiogram.
A bone conduction test uses vibrating tuning forks behind the ears to measure whether your hearing loss is conductive (affecting the outer or middle ear) or sensorineural (the result of inner ear damage) in nature. The type of treatment you receive is dependent upon your category of hearing loss.
Speech tests, eardrum function tests known as tympanograms, and acoustic reflex tests that measure muscle contractions may all be given as well, depending on your results.