Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation
Audiology evaluations consist of a series of tests used to determine whether a hearing loss exists, measure its type, degree and configuration. These tests include frequency testing and speech testing to better determine how much your hearing loss may impact your daily hearing and speech understanding. Our audiologist will assess the results of each individual test in order to develop a treatment plan geared toward your unique hearing loss.
Who Should Be Given an Audiology Evaluation?
An audiology (or hearing) evaluation can benefit patients of all ages, even those who do not exhibit signs of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a progressive condition that often develops slowly. Many people are not aware of a change in their hearing because they gradually adapt to the subtle changes in their hearing ability over time. Studies indicate that it takes seven years, on average, for a hearing impaired individual to seek treatment.
A hearing evaluation by an audiologist should be the first course of action for someone who suspects a hearing loss. The sooner a diagnosis of hearing loss is made, the more successful treatment will be. Early detection means more options for the patient.
Many physicians recommend making hearing evaluations a routine part of your overall health care, much like regular vision exams and dental checkups. They are quick, painless and provide immediate results.
What Does Diagnostic Testing Entail?
A comprehensive hearing evaluation consists of a series of individual diagnostic tests that measure different aspects of your hearing. Following a physical examination and a review of your medical history, you will be given any or all of the following tests:
Pure Tone Testing
Pure-tone testing (also known as pure tone audiometry) uses air conduction to measure your ability to hear sounds of various pitches and volumes. Wearing headphones, you will be asked to identify a series of tones by raising a hand, pressing a button, or responding verbally.
The results are charted on an audiogram, a graph that shows the type, degree and configuration of your hearing loss by comparing pitch (frequency) with loudness (intensity). The pattern recorded will help your audiologist determine your hearing threshold.
Bone Conduction Testing
Bone conduction testing is another type of pure-tone test that measures the inner ear’s response to sound. If there is damage or a blockage in the outer or middle ear, bone conduction audiometry testing may be used.
Instead of sending the tones through the ear, this type of testing is able to bypass the outer and middle ear and send the tone directly to the inner ear. A small device that sends sound vibrations directly to the organ of hearing through bone conduction is placed behind the ear to determine the type of hearing loss. The device sends out a vibration that passes through the skull bone to reach the inner ear.
If the results of this test are different than the air conduction test, your audiologist can use this information to determine whether you have a conductive or sensorineural hearing loss.
Bone conduction testing is often used in place of air conduction testing when an obstruction in the outer or middle ears is present.
Speech Reception Testing (SRT) is used in conjunction with pure tone testing to assure we are recording accurate hearing levels. Word Recognition (WRS) is also scored to see how well speech is understood in the best conditions (quiet and no other distractions).
Tympanometry tests the integrity of the middle ear system. By performing this test we can determine if your middle ear system is performing as it should, if there is fluid behind the eardrum, or there is a perforation present in the eardrum. If a patient has tubes placed in the eardrum by an Ear, Nose & throat physician this test will also tell us if the tube is doing its job.
Acoustic Reflex Testing
The acoustic reflex test measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear, and is used to test the integrity of the entire auditory pathway.
Call Orange County Audiology & Hearing Aids at (409) 792-5035 for more information or to schedule an appointment.