Chances are that at some point in your life, you will experience some level of hearing loss. Many people experience this problem as a general part of aging, while others may have a medical condition or has an accident that affects their hearing. This is why there are hearing clinics available. However, even if you never experience a loss of hearing, it’s important to visit a hearing clinic to get your hearing tested. Here is what happens during a hearing test.
How Do You Get Scheduled for a Hearing Test?
Initially, you would visit an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). Usually, a person visits this doctor when they are experiencing some problem with their ears, such as muffled hearing, an earache and other issues. When the patient’s hearing is noticeably different, the ENT refers the individual to see an audiologist, a specialist who tests hearing.
What to Expect at the Audiologist’s Office
Once you get to the audiology office, you will have a hearing test and receive a hearing assessment afterward. If you have been to the office before, the specialist can compare the results of your previous test to those of the new one. The doctor will look into your ear canals using a otoscope and a tiny light. This is generally to check for any problems with your ear canal or eardrum and to ensure there isn’t an inordinate buildup of earwax or a blockage that’s affecting your hearing.
Audiologists also rely on tympanometry to test the function of your middle ear. It shows the doctor how your eardrum responds to light pressure and can determine whether there is a problem like infection, fluid or an issue with the Eustachian tube.
The Hearing Test
Finally, there is testing called audiometry performed. These include two tests, one involving air conduction and the other involving bone conduction. The patient sits in a soundproof room or booth and has a set of headphones on their head. The specialist works at a computer to begin the test, which involves sound coming through the headphones. The patient holds a mechanism with a button at the top of it and must press the button each time they hear a sound.
There is a series of sounds that come through the headphones. Air conduction tests to see whether the patient can hear the softest sounds at a variety of pitches. It can determine the level of hearing loss the individual has experienced. Bone conduction directly stimulates the inner ear through a device placed behind the ear to determine the softest sound the person can hear.
What Happens After the Test
After the test, you receive patient consulting with the audiology specialist. If it is determined that you have at least a moderate hearing loss, you will likely be recommended to buy hearing aids to help. The specialist can recommend the best option for you based on your particular level of loss and whether one ear cannot be helped with a hearing aid.
It’s important to know all of your options when it comes to your hearing. Talk with the audiologist extensively so that you can come up with the best plan for you.