The hearing test really is the easy part. The tricky part is accepting your hearing loss and actually setting up the hearing test in the first place.
You’ve probably read the stats by now: 48 million people in the US have hearing loss but only a small fraction actually do something about it, and only 20 percent of people who would benefit from hearing aids actually use them.
So if you’ve already scheduled your hearing test, congrats, you’ve already overcome the most significant impediment to better hearing.
The hearing exam, as you’ll see, is a simple and easy, non-invasive process that will pinpoint the severity of your hearing loss to help develop the most suited course of treatment.
Shortly after you first arrive at the office, you’ll begin by submitting some paperwork. Then, you’ll meet with your hearing care provider to discuss your hearing health history.
Your Hearing Health History
Your hearing loss, if existing, can be caused by exposure to loud sound, the natural aging process, or by an underlying ailment. You’ll want to exclude any underlying conditions prior to proceeding to the actual hearing test.
If you have an impaction of earwax, for instance, you may very well be hearing better within a few minutes after a professional cleaning. The existence of any other conditions will be evaluated and the appropriate referral made, if necessary.
After going over your basic medical history, you’ll go over your subjection to loud sounds, your hearing loss symptoms, and exactly what you wish to achieve with better hearing.
It’s essential to establish potential causes, how symptoms are having an effect on your life, and how better hearing will enhance your life, which is in the end the whole point. Be leery of the practitioner that doesn’t seem to really care about the reasons why you want to enhance your hearing to begin with.
The Hearing Test
There’s one more step to take prior to starting the hearing test: the visual examination of the ear with a device known as an otoscope. This will help in ruling out any problems with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the abnormal accumulation of earwax.
Next, you’ll be accompanied to a sound-treated room with your hearing care provider. You’ll be instructed to wear headphones, and the specialist will start to play you some sounds.
You will be presented with various sounds at assorted frequencies, and you’ll be asked to identify the quietest sounds you can hear at each frequency. This is referred to as your hearing threshold, and the hearing care professional will capture these values on a graph known as an audiogram.
The hearing exam might also entail speech testing, where you’ll be asked to repeat the words delivered to you. Assorted types of words, delivered at different volumes with and without background noise, will be introduced. This will help confirm if hearing aids can help you with speech understanding.
When the hearing test is concluded, your hearing care professional will go over the final results with you.
Reviewing Your Hearing Test Results
Referencing your audiogram, your hearing care provider will now talk about your hearing in both ears. Determined by the results, your hearing will be characterized as normal or as displaying mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.
If a hearing loss is found, the next step is talking about your treatment options. Seeing that there are no current medical or surgical treatments to restore hearing damage, this means examining your hearing aid options.
Today’s hearing aids are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, at different price points with several sophisticated functions and features. In choosing your hearing aids, it’s crucial to work with an expert hearing care professional for three main reasons:
- They can help you identify the best hearing aid model to satisfy all of your objectives.
- They can help you determine the advanced features you need—along with the ones you don’t—at a price that works with your budget.
- They can program your new hearing aids to amplify only the sounds you have difficulty hearing—identified by the hearing test—ensuring the best possible sound quality.
And that’s it, a quick, simple process in exchange for a lifetime of healthier hearing. We’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
We look forward to seeing you!