Hearing Evaluation

What to Expect During your Hearing Evaluation

All evaluations are performed by a licensed audiologist. Just like with any medical appointment, we first try to obtain a clear picture of each patient by asking questions about general health, family medical history, and the concerns which led you to make the appointment. The results from your hearing test will provide the audiologist with a comprehensive view of what sounds you may or may not be hearing, while questions about your daily life and perception about your hearing provide the basis for a more comprehensive hearing evaluation. We are then able to assess your needs for a successful hearing aid fitting!

Types of Testing

Otoscopy: This is a visual examination of your ears to check for signs of wax buildup, ear infections, fluid buildup, or foreign objects in the ear.

Tympanometry: This process involves checking ear drum movement by inserting a probe or ear bud (like an mp3 earphone) into your ear to check for fluid or pressure behind the eardrum.

Speech Recognition Testing: For this test, the audiologist will say words and ask you to repeat them back. The words are initially spoken at a comfortable level and will gradually increase and decrease in volume until the audiologist is able to determine the softest level at which you will respond. For children who aren’t able to reply through speech, pictures are used.

Pure Tone Testing: This test determines the softest sound you hear at a variety of pitches. You will be asked to raise your hand or press a button when you hear the beep sound at a particular pitch level.

Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission (DPOAE): For this test, an ear probe is used to stimulate the cochlea by presenting a variety of tones and measuring the activity generated by the inner ear.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Testing: These are more commonly performed on school-age children, although adults can be tested. The problem with APD is not related to one’s ability to hear, but instead the brain’s ability to process or interpret auditory information correctly. APD can easily be confused as hearing loss or other things like ADHD, Dyslexia, and even Autism.

To get an idea of what it’s like to have APD, imagine that you are in a noisy room, like a classroom. The teacher is speaking, but you find it hard to follow along because the background noise is just too loud. Because of this, you decide to focus on doodling in your note book. When the teacher calls your name, you don’t hear her, so she finally comes by and touches your shoulder to get your attention. You look up and realize that everyone in the room has been trying to get your attention

Types of Testing for Children

Play Audiometry: Play Audiometry involves your child responding to a series of sounds/beeps of varying volume and pitch levels. Younger children (3- and 4-year olds) are generally asked to put a toy in a bucket when he/she hears a beep. Older children (5+ years old) should be able to respond by raising their hands. Ultimately, which method of response will depend on the cognition level of the child and if he/she understands the task.

Visual Reinforced Audiometry (VRA):A sound is broadcast through a speaker from one side and the child reacts by turning toward the sound. The audiologist then lights up a toy to reinforce that the child responded correctly. Another sound is then presented at a lower level and the process is repeated until the child no longer responds. If a child doesn’t respond to sounds, the audiologist will gradually increase the volume until he or she does respond. The audiologist may also speak the child’s name as an alternative.

Evaluation Results

Once testing is completed, our audiologists can then piece together a blueprint of your hearing. Are both ears performing the same? Is there hearing loss due to noise? If your hearing test reveals a permanent hearing loss, a hearing aid may be recommended for one or both ears. You may be referred to a physician specializing in disorders of the ear if there are other medical conditions we think should be addressed before recommending hearing aids.

No matter what your results, our staff is here from beginning to end to help you choose your next best step on the road to healthy hearing.