Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation
A diagnostic hearing evaluation is the first step in determining your hearing capability. If you have a hearing loss, it will detail the extent, type, and specifics of your particular hearing loss. The diagnostic hearing evaluation consists of a variety of tests to determine the unique aspects of your hearing loss, as well as the level at which you can detect and understand speech. This evaluation can be conducted on people of any age, from newborn infants to seniors.
We take a thorough case history to help us understand your hearing and medical background. We’ll ask questions about any hearing or communication difficulties you may be experiencing as well as any medical conditions you may have. Our goal is to learn as much as we can about your specific listening environments and listening needs.
During your examination, we will evaluate your hearing levels at different pitches and frequencies. We will also evaluate your ability to understand speech by asking you to listen and repeat words. These results will paint a picture of your current hearing levels and whether or not you would be a candidate for treatment as well as your likelihood for success. Setting proper expectations is a key factor in hearing restoration success.
A diagnostic hearing evaluation may include the following tests:
Tympanometry is an evaluation used to test the efficiency of your eardrums and middle ear bones. It helps us identify the efficiency of your middle ear and what type of hearing loss you may be experiencing.
We have an ear camera in the office that allows us to see inside your ear canals and determine if there is a wax buildup or any foreign objects in your ears. Sometimes an obstruction can be the cause of a hearing loss. Often times we can manage wax obstructions in our office.
Hearing in Noise Testing
Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) and Quick Speech in Noise Test (SIN) evaluate your ability to understand speech in the presence of background noise. There is new research being done on “hidden” hearing loss which is caused by loud noise exposure. Hidden hearing loss can affect your ability to understand speech in background noise, increase incidents of tinnitus, and cause hypersensitivity to loud sounds.
Why a Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation is Important
Diagnostic hearing evaluations identify hearing loss, and give your hearing care professional important information to help determine the best course of action for treatment. Some types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, so it's important that these types of hearing losses be ruled out before hearing aids or other treatments are considered.
If it is determined that you could benefit from hearing aids, the diagnostic hearing evaluation helps your hearing professional know which hearing aids will be most appropriate for your needs.
What Can I Expect During a Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation?
The evaluation will probably last about 30 to 40 minutes in length. You should also allow for time for discussion with your hearing professional to review test results, and ask questions.
If the determination is made that you need hearing aids, allow for sufficient time to discuss your options.
It is recommended that you bring a family member with you to the evaluation appointment. Most audiologists agree that hearing loss is a family issue. It helps to have another supportive person at the appointment to help you understand the information and recommendations.
The diagnostic hearing evaluation is a good chance to establish a relationship with your hearing care professional. You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.