If you or your child has been referred for a diagnostic audiologic evaluation, it means that hearing loss needs to be ruled out or further examined. Unlike tests at school, there are no right or wrong answers with a hearing test. Hearing tests are done to determine if a hearing loss is present, and if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. These tests may also provide insight into the cause of the hearing loss as well as be a guideline for the Dr. Cam in making appropriate treatment recommendations. The results of the tests are recorded as a graph called an audiogram.
Hearing tests are quick, non-invasive and very important to your overall health - here's what to expect from a hearing test appointment with us.
The first step is to schedule an appointment with us - this appointment typically lasts 60-90 minutes so Dr. Cam has time to perform the tests, discuss the results, and any recommendations. We will ask you several questions to understand your hearing situation better. Dr. Meikle will pay special attention to any concerns you have about exposure to noise, tinnitus, and balance problems. Because the list of causes for hearing loss is so long, information will be sought to rule out medical red flags. Make sure that you take a full list of any medications and supplements you are taking with you to your appointment.
Otoscopic (visual) examination
An otoscope is a piece of medical equipment that looks like a mix between a flashlight and a microscope and is used to examine your ear canal for obstructions or injuries. Our office has a video otoscope, which allows the Audiologist and patient to see the inside of the ear canal. The process takes only a few minutes and is minimally intrusive.
It's now time to take the hearing test. Patients are given headphones or inserts (earplugs) with wires that are connected to our audiometer. We will begin with a pure-tone test. You will hear noises with changing frequencies and loudness in one or both ears during this test. You push a button once you hear a sound.
A speech recognition test is also performed. This test requires you to repeat what has been said after hearing short clips of people speaking. These tests are used to determine the extent of any existing hearing loss, as well as your ability to manage acute high frequencies and booming low frequencies. It also determines how well your brain understands, or makes sense of, the signals it receives.
There are other tests as well, including tests to determine your loudness sensitivity and tests that help us understand what type of hearing loss a patient has.
Analyzing your results
Following your testing, your results will be displayed on an audiogram, a visual depiction of your hearing ability.The results from all these tests will be used to create a profile of your hearing ability (and potential hearing loss). Following the results, we will assist you with interpreting them and our Audiologist will make treatment recommendations (if any). Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions. 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.