To understand whether the hearing loss that you’re experiencing can be corrected by medical or surgical means before investing in costly hearing aids? Wouldn’t you like to find out if your hearing issues are related to potentially serious illnesses?
All hearing tests are not the same
When it comes to testing the condition and level of your hearing abilities, not all tests are the same. The only way to get an accurate evaluation of your hearing abilities and overall condition is by getting tested by a licensed audiologist. A professional test can tell you much more than just your current hearing abilities but also exactly what is causing those issues in the first place. When you have accurate knowledge about your condition, you can take the necessary steps to get surgery or medical intervention for your condition. A comprehensive hearing test performed by an audiologist may reveal that you need additional tests like blood analysis or brain scans in order to find out what is going on. Knowledge is power, and only when you know exactly what’s going on can you make an informed choice about treatment.
Thorough diagnostic testing
A comprehensive test from an audiologist will begin with a physical examination of your ears, including the eardrum and wax load inside the outer canal. Once this is performed, the audiologist will administer a series of audible tones in order to discover how well you can hear sounds at different frequencies.
The third step in your comprehensive diagnostic test will be for the audiologist to analyze your speech patterns. When you speak, the audiologist will measure your ability to speak in a soft voice (not whispering) and your ability to enunciate, two indicators of how well you can hear yourself and adjust your speech patterns. The audiologist will then ask you to listen to speech to determine how well you can comprehend other people speaking.
The fourth step is called bone conduction. A small device known as a bone vibrator will be placed behind your ear. The same tone test from step two will be repeated. The results will reveal whether your internal ability to hear may be having issues because of an obstruction in the region of the middle ear. The fifth and final part of the diagnostic testing is when the audiologist will measure the mobility of your ear drums.
After the thorough diagnostic testing is done, the audiologist will explain the results to you as well as discussing the options available for treating your hearing issues. In some cases, hearing aids may be the right solution for you. But in other cases, treating the underlying cause or related disease elsewhere in the body may be more effective in helping reduce or eliminate your hearing issues.
Make the best choice
Depending on where you live, the law may require that companies selling hearing aids can only perform diagnostic tests solely for the purpose of measuring your hearing ability. Indeed, it may be illegal for hearing aid vendors to perform comprehensive diagnostic testing. Unfortunately, this means that more comprehensive testing to look for underlying or related issues of illness can’t happen, so it is best to avoid those free hearing tests often advertised by hearing aid vendors.
The best way to understand and evaluate your hearing issues is to visit an audiologist. Only a licensed audiologist can perform comprehensive diagnostic testing that ensures that you can fully understand the underlying causes and potential complications of your hearing loss in order to obtain the best treatment possible, which may or may not include being fitted out for hearing aids.
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]