You can pat yourself on the back if you’ve recently scheduled a hearing test for yourself. You have taken an important step towards maintaining your hearing health. However, if you have never had a hearing test, you might feel a bit nervous. The Coastal Hearing Center team and I want to reassure you that you have nothing to worry about. Hearing tests are neither painful nor evasive, and we provide instant results, so you can forego anxious pacing and waiting for a call. Just to help you relax about your upcoming hearing test, I’ve laid out what you can expect to take place during a hearing test.
A Friendly Chat
A hearing test begins with a friendly chat with your audiologist. The topic of our discussion will center on your medical history and questions about various issues that could be early warning signs of hearing loss. We will discuss your family history, injuries, and health conditions you have experienced, and medications you are taking. I will also ask about your current work and living environment and your lifestyle to determine if there are specific situations or circumstances causing damage to your hearing.
A Visual Examination
After our chat, I will do a visual examination of your ear canals and tympanic membranes (eardrums) by using an otoscope. An otoscope is essentially a magnifying glass with a long snout and a light that I will insert into your ear canal so I can get a better look. Your medical doctor has probably used one in his examinations as well. I’ll look for obstructions, such as inflammation, growths, earwax, or even a bug, as well as determine the health of your eardrums. Once I have a general understanding of possible hearing loss causes, we’ll begin the hearing test.
The Hearing Test
A hearing test accomplishes two main goals; it determines what you can and cannot hear and establishes a baseline used to monitor changes in your hearing capacity. I will also be able to determine whether you are experiencing conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss. Knowing which type helps me to determine which treatment options will work best for your particular case. There are two main parts to a hearing test.
Pure Tone Audiometry
For this test, I will isolate you from background noise and ask you to wear a special type of headphones. I will transmit a range of tones and pitches at a variety of volume levels into the headphones and ask you to respond when you hear each tone. An audiometer records your results, providing us with the softest volume levels you are able to hear at each frequency.
Speech Tone Audiometry
In contrast to the pure tone audiometry, speech tone audiometries use words rather than tones. I will ask you to repeat a list of words, spoken at different volume levels. Like with the pure tone audiometry, the audiometer will record your results, establishing the lowest level you can hear and understand speech.
In some cases, I will need to perform a tympanometry. For this test, I will place a soft plug onto your ear and use a combination of pressure changes and sounds to test your acoustic reflexes. This test will determine how well your eardrum moves and measure the reflexive responses of the muscles in your middle ear.
Hearing test results are not something you have to wait on. I can provide an accurate report of your hearing capacity almost instantly. From those results, we will be able to discuss the various treatment options available and/or determine a course of action to prevent further damage so you can enjoy an independent lifestyle and a better quality of life. Whether you are in Gulfport or Biloxi, our Coastal Hearing Center team is eager to provide the highest level of hearing healthcare in the area.
Contact us for more information about hearing tests in general, or schedule an appointment with me or one of my associates at the Coastal Hearing Center nearest to you.