The hearing exam truly is the easy part. The challenging part is accepting your hearing loss and actually setting up the hearing test in the first place.
You’ve more than likely heard the stats by now: 48 million people in the United States have hearing loss but only a small fraction actually do anything about it, and only 20 percent of those who would reap benefits from hearing aids actually utilize them.
So if you’ve already scheduled your hearing test, congrats, you’ve already conquered the biggest hurdle to healthier hearing.
The hearing exam, as you’ll witness, is a simple and easy, non-invasive procedure that will establish the severity of your hearing loss to help determine the most suited course of treatment.
Shortly after you initially arrive at the office, you’ll start by filling out some paperwork. Then, you’ll consult with your hearing care provider to talk about your hearing health history.
Your Hearing Health History
Your hearing loss, if present, can be triggered by exposure to loud noise, the normal aging process, or by an underlying ailment. You’ll want to exclude any underlying medical conditions before moving on to the actual hearing test.
If you have an impaction of earwax, as an example, you may very well be hearing better within a few minutes shortly after a professional cleaning. The existence of any other ailments will be assessed and the appropriate referral made, if required.
After reviewing your basic medical history, you’ll discuss your exposure to loud sounds, your hearing loss symptoms, and exactly what you desire to achieve with better hearing.
It’s important to determine potential causes, how symptoms are negatively affecting your life, and how better hearing will enhance your life, which is in the end the whole point. Be wary of the practitioner that doesn’t appear to really care about the main reasons why you want to improve your hearing in the first place.
Testing Your Hearing
There’s one more step before beginning the hearing test: the visual investigation of the ear with a device called an otoscope. This will help rule out any issues with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the abnormal buildup of earwax.
Next, you’ll be accompanied to a sound-treated room with your hearing care provider. You’ll be required to put on headphones, and the provider will start to play you some sounds.
You’ll be presented with different sounds at different frequencies, and you’ll be asked to identify the quietest sounds you can hear at each pitch. This is labeled your hearing threshold, and the hearing care professional will record these values on a chart known as an audiogram.
The hearing test will probably also include speech testing, where you’ll be asked to repeat the words presented to you. Assorted types of words, delivered at various volumes with and without background noise, will be presented. This will help ascertain if hearing aids can help you with speech understanding.
When the hearing test is concluded, your hearing care professional will review the results with you.
Assessing Your Hearing Test Results
Referencing your audiogram, your hearing care provider will now talk about your hearing in both ears. Determined by the results, your hearing will be categorized as normal or as displaying mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.
If a hearing loss is present, the next step is discussing your treatment options. Seeing as there are no present medical or surgical treatments to repair hearing damage, this means assessing your hearing aid options.
Present hearing aids come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, at different prices with several sophisticated functions and features. In choosing your hearing aids, it’s important to work with a competent hearing care professional for three main reasons:
- They can help you identify the ideal hearing aid model to meet all of your goals.
- They can help you identify the advanced functions you need—along with the ones you don’t—at a price tag that fits your budget.
- They can program your new hearing aids to amplify only the sounds you have difficulty hearing—established by the hearing test—ensuring optimal sound quality.
And that’s it, a fast, easy procedure in return for a lifetime of better hearing. We’d say that’s a very good deal.
We look forward to seeing you!