Hearing Test Have you been asking others to repeat themselves more often? Does it seems like EVERYONE mumbles? Have family members commented on how you turn up the TV volume more than usual? If so... It might be time for a hearing test! What happens during a hearing test? This is one of the most common questions we get from new patients, especially from those who have never experienced a hearing test in their life. The main goal of a hearing test is for an audiologist to check the human auditory pathways which include the inner, outer and middle ear. Why would I need a hearing test? As mentioned above, you would need a hearing test if you yourself have been noticing changes in your hearing. More serious cases that may entail a hearing test include a suspected blockage or brain damage. What happens after a hearing test? The results of a hearing test will determine the next steps of an audiologist and the intervention to be given, including the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Where is a hearing test performed? A hearing test is usually performed in a soundproof room or sound enclosure to ensure that the ears will be masked from external noise. A patient will be asked to push buttons whenever they hear certain sounds. If anyone feels claustrophobic a hearing test can be completed outside the sound booth with a special set of headphones. Is it important to have a hearing test? There’s no such thing as equal hearing - even a pair of identical twins will have different hearing levels! There are also different types of hearing loss: some may hear better with low or high pitches, some may experience "tone deafness" while some may still hear well but have difficulty hearing certain tones or frequencies. All those “could be’s” and unknowns can be settled with a hearing test. Because hearing loss is relative and lies on a wide spectrum of levels, a comprehensive hearing exam is the way to establish an accurate hearing loss diagnosis. The patient may sit inside the sound booth for 10-15 minutes for the hearing testing while an audio sampling and assessment is performed to determine if and where there are sound voids. The mechanical function of the eardrum is checked through a tuning fork test where the sounds are introduced directly through the ear, skull or cranium. Sounds can be heard through vibration and this type of hearing can give an audiologist information about that certain part of the ear. A tympanometer is another machine used during a hearing test. With a tympanometer, the movement of the mechanisms in the ears is measured as pressures are presented. We would want to ensure that the middle ear is healthy and working the way it should be mechanically. Now, let’s discuss more about how a hearing test is done on different parts of the ears. Hearing Test: Outer Ear The most exposed part of the ear is the outer ear. We want to ensure this area is clean and clear from any debris. In this test, the health of the eardrum is also checked - ensuring it is intact with no visible obstruction to block sounds from going where it needs to go. Hearing Test: Outer Ear The middle ear begins with the eardrum, which has a mechanical function in the hearing process. Think of the eardrum as a sail of a sailboat; there are bones attached to the eardrum and the bones are moving along with the eardrum. I have been a client of Hear Care for over 10 years and could not ask for a better experience. Not only are Ken and Patrick professional and expert in meeting my hearing needs, but they make each visit a welcoming experience. The staff goes beyond all expectations to make everyone feel like family. It is a pleasure to come in for my appointments. Louise Hamm Hearing Test: Auditory Pathways The auditory pathways are also checked during a hearing test. This part is full of dense fluid with around 20,000 tiny hair cells which plays a role in the ear controls. When viewed with the naked eye, the hair cells inside the auditory pathways look quite similar to the hairs on our hand; but, when viewed microscopically, it is actually composed of a thousand hair cells, each playing a small yet significant part to control tone or pitch. Over time, the hairs inside the ear can change, just like the hairs on top of our head. These changes can be brought on by the natural ageing process or be triggered by ototoxic medications or noise. Did you know that 90% of hearing loss occurs due to the damage or atrophy of the ear’s hair cells? A hearing test can physically check the integrity of the inner ear hair cells. Traditional vs Online Hearing Tests Nowadays, people have access to online hearing tests, which is quite convenient because it eliminates the need to leave home and go to an audiologist clinic. But perhaps you wonder if online hearing tests are accurate. From an expert’s point of view, the results of an online hearing test may or may not be accurate, but will not be guaranteed or provide a complete assessment of hearing problems. There’s really nothing wrong with trying an online hearing test (especially if it’s FREE), but we would suggest that you correlate or confirm the results of an online hearing test with a comprehensive hearing exam connducted by an audiologist. Your Hearing Test & "Recruitment" In the hearing health field, the word recruitment takes on a whole different meaning. Recruitment is a phenomenon where an individual experiences an abnormal loudness growth. A person with hearing loss does not necessarily need to make ALL SOUNDS louder just to hear better. There are instances when just certain sounds in specific frequencies need to be a bit louder. We don’t want to make the sounds TOO LOUD for patients, and a hearing test would be the best guide for this. Your hearing test helps the audiologist provide balanced amplification so hearing aid users will enjoy audio sounds at adequate and comfortable levels based on his or her unique hearing loss. Hearing Test & Noise A hearing test can also determine the amount of noise a patient can tolerate in order to understand what is being said by a speaker. During a hearing test, your audiologist may use sounds that mimic common social situations such as being in a restaurant, in a party, concert, airport, etc. These type of hearing test procedures allow audiologists to identify hearing limits and capabilities in noisy environments. A hearing test greatly helps in guiding an audiologist to provide you with the best hearing treatment and hearing aid options. Hearing Test Pure Tone Audiometry This type of hearing test is used to identify the hearing threshold levels of a patient, serving as a guide for audiologists in determining the type, degree and configuration of hearing loss. Pure tone audiometry supplies the basis for diagnosis, management or treatment of hearing loss. Hearing TestSpeech Audiometry Speech audiometry is part of a comprehensive hearing assessment. This specific hearing test is conducted by an audiologist in order to accurately measure a person’s ability to recognize speech. Speech audiometry results can determine the speech reception threshold of a person. HearCare Audiology Hearing Tests HearCare Audiology has several convenient audiology centers around northeast Indiana with sound booths for comprehensive hearing evaluations. A hearing test can help determining the reason behind the hearing loss, whether it is a temporary condition, or if there is possible damage to the auditory nerve. Our audiologist's procedures ensure the highest accuracy with your hearing test results. If done right, a hearing test can be an important step toward improved communication, social interaction, and general sense of well-being of a person with hearing loss. More often than not, people with hearing loss tend to feel isolated, frustrated in their effort to be part of the conversation again. We at HearCare Audiology rally for inclusivity and want patients with hearing loss to be given a chance to restore their meaningful conversations with the people who matter the most. A comprehensive hearing assessment by an audiology is vital toward better hearing health for you or your loved one.