older patient ears examined by hearing specialist

Untreated hearing loss can impact a person's quality of life, but luckily there are available treatment options. If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, the first step is to visit your audiologist for a hearing test. To help you get ready for your visit, let's explore a few of the common questions about hearing tests.

How can I prepare for my hearing test?

To help your audiologist understand your hearing health, you should take details about your medical history. Provide info about underlying medical conditions or symptoms that might be related to your hearing health. Bring details of supplements or medications that you currently take. With a better understanding of your medical history, your audiologist can provide a clearer assessment of your hearing health.

Arrange for a friend or a family member to keep you company. You might find the appointment more relaxing that way. It can be nice to have someone to help you understand the info given and ask questions.

What does a hearing test involve?

A hearing test assesses a person's ability to hear different frequencies, pitches, and sounds. Audiologists perform several different types of hearing tests to understand a patient's hearing ability. A pure tone test works by measuring the least audible or softest sound that the patient can hear. A pure-tone test measures each sound in decibels and in tone.

The patient must listen to different sounds and frequencies and respond according to the audiologist's instructions. The test is carried out in a soundproof room, using headphones. The audiologist will establish the lowest volume the patient can detect during the test while testing different frequencies.

Audiologists also perform speech discrimination tests. These tests are used to judge how well the person can hear speech amongst background noise.

Is a hearing test painful?

No, hearing tests are completely painless and non-invasive assessments. A hearing test starts with a basic physical examination of the ears. First, an audiologist will take an otoscope to look inside the patient's eardrum. Next, the audiologist gives the patient headphones and uses an audiometer to perform the hearing tests.

How long does a hearing test take?

The entire hearing test process should take only 30 minutes. At the beginning of the test, the audiologist will explain the procedure and ask if the patient has any questions. At this stage, the patient can discuss their medical history, which can support the diagnostic procedure.

What will my hearing test results look like?

The audiologist will present the patient with an audiogram graph. The graph shows the softest noises the person can distinguish at various frequencies. The graph has a horizontal axis that represents the pitch and a vertical axis that shows the volume. Hearing loss comes under different categories from mild hearing loss to severe and profound hearing loss. Each category is measured using a decibel range (for example, moderate hearing loss is between 41 and 70 dB).

What happens after your hearing test?

After a hearing test is complete, the audiologist will talk the patient through treatment options. Whether they have mild or severe hearing loss, hearing aids are a great treatment option. There are several different types of hearing aids, including:

  • In the ear (ITE): ITE hearing aids are placed directly inside the ear; this style has great amplification and sound quality. ITE hearing aids have two mics and are suitable for people who have severe hearing loss.
  • In the canal (ITC): ITC hearing devices are the smallest type of hearing aid. These are placed in the ear canal. For a discreet hearing aid, ITC is the best option. ITC hearing aids are recommended for patients with moderate hearing loss.
  • Behind the ear (BTE): BTE hearing aids fit behind the ear; these are the least discrete option, though they do offer longer battery life. These styles are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss.

What is a tympanometry hearing test?

Under some circumstances, the audiologist may perform a tympanometry test. These tests are designed to check the movement of the eardrum. First, the audiologist places a probe inside the patient's ears. A device is connected to this probe that blows air into the ears. The results of a Tympanometry test are displayed on a graph. The audiologist assesses the shape of the graph to understand how the eardrum is moving. These tests can be used to diagnose an ear infection; check for fluid, or see if the patient has a hole in their eardrum.

For more info about hearing tests, contact Grusecki Audiology & Hearing Aid Services on 623-583-1737. Grusecki Audiology offer a wide range of audiology services, including audiology tests, hearing aid fittings and hearing aid repairs.