The hearing exam really is the easy part. The tricky part is accepting your hearing loss and actually booking the hearing test in the first place.
You’ve most likely heard the stats by now: 48 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss but only a small fraction actually do something about it, and only 20 percent of people who could reap benefits from hearing aids actually make use of them.
So if you’ve already scheduled your hearing test, great job, you’ve already conquered the strongest obstacle to better hearing.
The hearing test, as you’ll notice, is a simple and easy, non-invasive process that will confirm the magnitude of your hearing loss to help develop the most suitable treatment course.
Shortly after you first arrive at the office, you’ll start by submitting some paperwork. Then, you’ll consult with your hearing care professional to talk about your hearing health history.
Your Hearing Health History
Your hearing loss, if existing, can be triggered by direct exposure to loud sound, the natural aging process, or by an underlying condition. You’ll want to exclude any underlying medical conditions prior to proceeding to the actual hearing test.
If you have an earwax impaction, for example, you could be hearing better within minutes after a professional cleaning. The existence of any other ailments will be evaluated and the applicable referral made, if required.
After analyzing your general medical history, you’ll discuss your exposure to loud sounds, your hearing loss symptoms, and what you wish to accomplish with better hearing.
It’s vital to determine potential causes, how symptoms are influencing your life, and how better hearing will enhance your life, which is all things considered the whole point. Be wary of the practitioner that doesn’t appear to really care about the reasons why you desire to improve your hearing in the first place.
Testing Your Hearing
There’s one additional step prior to beginning the hearing test: the visual evaluation of the ear with a device known as an otoscope. This will help in ruling out any issues with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the abnormal buildup of earwax.
Next, you’ll be accompanied to a sound-treated room with your hearing care professional. You’ll be asked to wear headphones, and the provider will start to play you some sounds.
You’ll be presented with different sounds at multiple frequencies, and you’ll be asked to identify the quietest sounds you can hear at each pitch. This is labeled your hearing threshold, and the hearing care provider will capture these values on a diagram called an audiogram.
The hearing exam will probably also include speech testing, where you’ll be instructed to repeat the words delivered to you. Various types of words, presented at different volumes with and without background noise, will be presented. This will help ascertain if hearing aids can assist you with speech comprehension.
When the hearing test is over, your hearing care professional will review the results with you.
Reviewing Your Hearing Test Results
Referring to your audiogram, your hearing care provider will now review your hearing in both ears. Depending on the results, your hearing will be characterized as normal or as exhibiting mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.
If a hearing loss is found, the next step is discussing your treatment options. Seeing as there are no existing medical or surgical treatments to repair hearing damage, this means examining your hearing aid options.
Modern hearing aids are available in a diverse mix of shapes, sizes, and colors, at different price points with several advanced features. In picking out your hearing aids, it’s crucial to work with a qualified hearing care professional for three main reasons:
- They can help you identify the best hearing aid model to satisfy all of your goals.
- They can help you identify the advanced features you need—as well as with the ones you don’t—at a price tag that suits your budget.
- They can program your new hearing aids to enhance only the sounds you have difficulty hearing—established by the hearing test—ensuring optimal sound quality.
And that’s it, a fast, easy process in exchange for a lifetime of better hearing. We’d say that’s a very good deal.
We look forward to seeing you!