Hearing impairment affects more than just your ability to hear — it affects your quality of life. Hearing HealthCare, Inc. stresses the importance of an accurate and timely hearing test. The hearing evaluation is just the beginning of your treatment, and it’s essential to setting your unique care plan in motion and taking action on hearing loss. Your in-depth hearing evaluation will help us craft a treatment plan that renews your ability to hear, allowing you to truly hear your best and live life on your terms.
Step One: The Interview
The interview process helps our audiologists determine the extent of your hearing impairment and aids us in uncovering any specific areas requiring further attention. Some typical questions you’ll want to prepare for are:
- Has anyone else in your family had hearing problems?
- Have you had any illnesses or injuries that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you taken any medications that might have contributed to hearing impairment?
- Have you been exposed to loud noises in your workplace or while participating in leisure activities?
Step Two: The Examination
Our audiologists will take a close look inside your ear canal and figure out whether the hearing difficulty you are experiencing could be caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. We use a special instrument called an otoscope to inspect your outer ear and tympanic membrane (eardrum).
Step Three: Hearing Tests
Next we’ll need to figure out the nature of your hearing loss. We will include the following hearing tests when deemed appropriate:
- Pure-tone testing to measure under headphones and bone conduction to determine your hearing sensitivity at various frequencies (pitches) in each ear. These results are mapped out on an audiogram (grid) depicting how loud (measured in decibels) you need the different frequencies in order for you to just hear them.
- A speech assessment to measure how well you understand ordinary words at comfortable listening levels
- Otoacoustic Emmissions (OAEs): OAEs evaluate the outer hair cells present in the inner part of the ear by measuring an echo that the hair cells produce when stimulated with sounds at various frequencies. If the hair cells are damaged or not present, they will not produce an echo.
- Immittance testing to measure how your eardrum and middle ear react to varying degrees of air pressure and sound pressure
- Acoustic Reflex Testing to further investigate the auditory pathways.
- Other various testing under headphones will be implemented when results suggest further diagnostic procedures are necessary.
While performing these tests, your results will be documented on an audiogram. An audiogram is created after you take a puretone hearing test to map out the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing. The audiogram is a picture of your hearing by frequency (pitch) and intensity (loudness). Frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz), and the intensity is measured in decibels (dB). We will help determine whether you have trouble hearing low or high pitches and what that means for you moving forward.
Depending on the results of the hearing evaluation, we may determine a visit to an ENT or your primary care physician may be necessary to help further diagnose and treat your hearing.
Step Four: Treatment Options
If you have a hearing loss, we will discuss treatment options with you – which may include hearing aids. We will work with you to match your lifestyle needs with the appropriate technology, specifically designed to treat your unique hearing loss. The basic components of this instrument include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and a tiny processor. The exceptional effectiveness of your devices is the result of a powerful combination of professional expertise, software, and hardware.
Surgery & Implants
We now have the ability to surgically insert devices into the ear to improve hearing, facilitate lip-reading, and make it easier to distinguish certain sounds. Typically, these are most helpful if you are deaf or profoundly hearing impaired and hearing aids are not a useful treatment for you. Surgical implants include:
- Cochlear implants
- Middle-ear implants
- Bone-anchored hearing aids
- Auditory brainstem implants