Have you found yourself having to ask people to repeat themselves? Do your loved ones have to ask you to turn down the television or radio when it does not seem to be too loud to you. If you are beginning to suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss, there is only one way to be sure.
Hearing loss can affect anyone and often progresses so gradually; it can be difficult to notice until the effects have been extreme. Hearing loss has far-reaching effects on your health, happiness and longevity.
The purpose of a test for hearing loss is to determine not only if you have a hearing loss, but also how mild or severe it is. A thorough hearing test can also help define the type of hearing loss you have
A hearing health history
During your visit at Hearing Consultants, Inc., the first step will be to get to know your personal hearing health and medical history, to find out what you have has been your experience and what concerns you may have. Because there are many potential causes of hearing loss, the history helps determine if you could have anything inherited or genetic in your family.
Medical conditions like allergies, head colds, ear infections and even impacted earwax can also contribute to hearing loss. We will also want to know about any past head trauma or if you have been exposed to loud noises at work or for recreation. After we have assessed your hearing health history, the hearing test can begin.
Getting a hearing test
There is no need to worry. Hearing tests are painless and non-invasive. Most occur in a quiet, sound-treated room designed to keep out any other noises. You will be asked to wear headphones or soft earplugs with wires connected to an instrument called an audiometer that is used to conduct the test.
Pure tone audiometry
The pure tone audiometry test involves listening to tones at different pitches and volumes. Your hearing care professional will communicate with you and provide instructions through your headphones. You will have to focus and listen carefully because you need to respond even if the tone sounds are very faint. The test measures the very softest sounds you can hear at each frequency tested.
Speech audiometry uses recorded or live speech instead of pure tones. The speech portion of the exam evaluates the softest speech sounds you can understand. You will then be asked to repeat back words that are presented at a level well above threshold to see how well you can understand them accurately.
Understanding your hearing test results
Looking at the audiogram graph, you will see two axes. The horizontal axis represents frequency (pitch) from lowest to highest. The lowest frequency tested is usually 250 Hertz (Hz), and the highest is usually 8000 Hz. The frequency axis often likened to the keys on a piano where the sounds become higher pitched as you progress from left to right. Most speech falls into the 250 to 6000 Hz range, with the vowel sounds among the lowest frequencies and the consonants such as S, F, SH, CH, H, TH, T and K sounds among the highest frequencies.
The vertical axis of the audiogram represents the intensity or loudness of sound measured in decibels (dB), with the lowest levels at the top of the graph. Although the top left of the chart is labeled -10 dB or 0 dB, that does not mean the absence of sound. Zero decibels represent the softest level of sound that the average person with normal hearing will hear, for any given frequency. An adult is classified as having normal hearing ability if their responses are between 0 and 25 dB across the frequency range while a child is considered to have hearing ability within normal limits if their responses are between 0 to 15 dB across the frequency range.
After testing, we will discuss your results and make recommendations for next steps. If a hearing loss is revealed, we will usually recommend that you consider hearing aids. A hearing aid does more than help you hear. It also helps your brain remember the sounds you cannot hear without your hearing aid.
Hearing Consultants, Inc.
Have you experienced changes in your hearing? Do you struggle with speech in noise? Don’t put off a hearing test longer than you have to. You have so much to gain from a life with of healthy hearing. Contact us at Hearing Consultants, Inc. today!