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A Hearing Consultation: What Happens? (R J Donnan, Cleckheaton)

By November 21, 2017March 21st, 2018No Comments

A hearing “test” actually includes several tests that measure how well you hear  a variety  of  sounds  such as tones and  speech.  Hearing tests are  conducted by government  controlled  practitioners  (Registered Hearing  Aid Dispensers)  in special  sound  booths or extremely  quiet  rooms.  Generally,  hearing  tests  result in  one of two outcomes: normal hearing or some degree of hearing loss. A baseline hearing screening is recommended at  around age 50, unless you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss sooner. Recent studies indicate that the earlier hearing loss  is detected  and treated, the  slower it  progresses.  And  conversely,  if hearing  loss  goes undiagnosed, it can worsen more  quickly  than  necessary. 

Because hearing  loss  often  appears  gradually, you may be unaware of its onset – so don’t put off your initial hearing screening!

Hearing History: A hearing test usually begins with questions pertaining to your overall health and your hearing history.

Typical questions about your hearing may include:

• Have you noticed difficulty hearing?Did the problem come on suddenly or gradually?

• Is there hearing loss in your family?

• Are one or two ears affected?

• Were you subjected to chronic loud noise during your life?

• Do your ears ring?

• Do you have dizziness or vertigo?

• Did you have ear infections as a child?

• Do you have ear pain?

• Is it harder to hear the voices of men, women, or children?

• Do you notice environments where it’s challenging to follow the conversation?

At this time, you should also be asked about medications you take. This is important because many prescription and over-the-counter drugs are ototoxic, or harmful to your hearing. This  is  also  the stage to mention anything else you feel relates to your hearing.

 

Visual Examination of the Ears

Next, your ear canal and ear drum are inspected by a lighted device called an otoscope that magnifies the structures in the ear. Most hearing care specialists use video  otoscopes  which  show  you  the  inside  of  your  ear on a video screen.  Among  other conditions, otoscopes spot ear wax blockages, ear drum perforations and signs of infection in the ear canal or middle ear. These problems can contribute to hearing loss, and are generally corrected  by  medical doctors.  If  none  of  these  conditions  is  found  however,  the  hearing  screening  continues with the pure-tone air-conduction test.

 

Air Conduction Testing

The pure-tone air-conduction test notes the very softest tones you can hear at least 50% of the time they are  played for you. During this test, you will sit in a completely quiet room or sound booth, wearing earphones. Starting with one ear, the practitioner plays  tones  of  different  frequencies,  (high-to-low pitches),  one  at a time. When you hear the sound, you raise a finger or press a button.  Each  tone  is  played  at  softer  and  softer  levels  until  you  no longer respond  consistently.  The  softest  level  you  can  hear  is  your  threshold for that particular frequency. The various frequencies played represent the range of sounds you commonly hear in the world.  Your  responses  are charted on an audiogram, and the resulting graph indicates how well your outer and middle ear structures are processing sound.

 

Bone Conduction Testing

Bone  conduction  testing  uses  the  same  process  as  air conduction testing, but tones are sent to a device placed behind  your  ear  instead  of  into  earphones.  This  allows  sounds  to  bypass  your outer and middle ear and pass through your skull to your inner ear. In this manner, bone conduction  testing  accurately  assesses  your  inner  ear’s hearing ability, without influence from your outer or middle ear.  Once  the  results  of  both  air  conduction and bone conduction testing are plotted on your audiogram, a fuller picture of your hearing health emerges. The picture  may show normal hearing or may indicate hearing loss. If the latter, the audiogram identifies the degree  (mild, moderate, severe, profound), and the type (conductive, sensori-neural, mixed) of your hearing loss.

 

Speech Testing

The next  step  in  the  process  is  testing  that  utilizes  speech.  The first test requires you to repeat a series of two-syllable words that are played at successively lower levels.  This  test  helps  to determine the level at which you can detect speech. You will then be asked to repeat one syllable words  set  at  a  comfortable  listening level, to see how well you understand speech. Identifying these levels  helps  to  further  determine  your hearing aid candidacy.

Other valuable speech tests may include:

• Speech-in-Noise test determines how well you hear sentences in noisy environments

• Most Comfortable Listening Level (MCL) systematically increases volume until it feels “just right”

• Threshold of Discomfort (TD) /Recruitment test systematically increases volume until it’s uncomfortable. If your hearing tests show you require hearing aids for hearing loss, these speech tests help customize your hearing devices so it’s easy to comprehend conversation in multiple listening environments even noisy ones.

 

The next step is what makes us different. 

In many cases, we’ll then set up a  pair  of  hearing  aids  of your choice, and to your prescription. You can hear how well you can hear straight away. With your agreement, you can then take them home for a FREE TRIAL for around 14 days.  That’s  no  signature and no payment.  You’ll  be given  a  follow-up  appointment  to  discuss  your  findings / experiences.

 

Take Charge of Your Hearing Care.

While  a  hearing  screening can range from a short procedure to a battery of tests, a good hearing care professional will always take the time to explain every step, and help you understand your results. Remember,  good hearing is in your control, so never hesitate to ask questions or seek answers! 

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