A hearing examination is a thorough evaluation of a persons hearing through the administration of several different tests. These evaluations are recommended to anyone that believes that their hearing is deteriorating or anyone that’s over the age of 50.
There are a number of steps associated with these examinations that you should be aware about before requesting them.
Lifestyle Questions and Health History
When you first sit down with a hearing doctor, you will be asked a variety of questions pertaining to your lifestyle. This can help to determine why you may be experiencing some issues with your hearing. These questions can differ, but usually involve inquiries about how much time you spend outdoors, if you work outside of your home, if you often go to the theater, and how often you spend time with large groups of your friends and family. This ensures that the treatments offered to you once the hearing tests have been administered are individualized for greater effect.
Next, your health and hearing history will be evaluated. With these questions, your current and past health will be looked over in detail. One of the primary reasons for this is that there are a wide variety of diseases and illnesses that can bring about some hearing loss. This includes everything from high blood pressure to kidney disease. If any of your family has experienced hearing loss in the past, this would be a good time to mention it. You will also be asked if you regularly listen to loud music or work in an environment with loud sounds on a consistent basis. Once these questions have been asked, the examination will begin in earnest.
Hearing Evaluation and Results
The actual evaluation that tests your hearing tasks you with the completion of around five tests, the results of which will determine several aspects of your hearing. The reason for multiple tests is to assist in the elimination of certain causes while highlighting the ones that may actually be leading to your hearing loss. You will first be administered with a standard visual exam of the ear. This is done with the usage of an otoscope.
Your ear drums will then be tested, which will be followed by a test of your air and bone conduction. Following these tests, a word discrimination exam will take place. This particular test is designed to identify if your ears hear certain words, but not clearly. Lastly, you will go through SIN testing. In this examination, you will be tasked with listening for sentences and words while background noise is playing.
Throughout the test, the noise will become louder, which will help to pinpoint the exact moment when you’re no longer able to discern what the words are within the noise. After all the tests have been completed, the results will be viewed on an audiogram, which is a type of visual tool that shows you where your hearing levels are at. These results provide the doctor with the means of selecting a specific treatment plan for you.
The Application and Demonstration of a Hearing Aid
Depending on what the results tell you, you may need to wear a hearing aid in cases where the hearing loss is sustained. In all other instances, lifestyle changes may be necessary to combat the deterioration of your hearing. Your doctor will be able to provide you with everything you need to know about hearing aids if you’re required to wear them. Before selecting a hearing aid, you can typically try one out for a couple of days to determine whether or not you’re properly adjusting to it.
Once this period has ended, you will go through a fitting process. This is the most important aspect of selecting a hearing aid, as these items are programmed to match your current hearing levels to ensure that you hear all sounds properly. During this process, don’t hesitate to offer input on the volume levels for the hearing aids, as well as your feelings about the overall fit of the device. Once you’ve selected a hearing aid, simply place it into your ear and you’re good to go.
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 ]