What happens during a hearing test?
Before your appointment begins you will be asked to complete a case history information form in the waiting area. This form asks questions about your hearing and medical conditions related to your hearing.
At the beginning of your appointment your audiologist will review your case history form with you and may ask additional questions. For example, your audiologist may ask you to describe the specific situations in which you are experiencing difficulty hearing.
Your audiologist will look in each ear using an otoscopic light. This allows your audiologist to see any abnormalities such as excessive wax in the ear canal and/or on the eardrum. Our clinics are also equipped with a video otoscope which allows patients to see the inside of their ear canal during otoscopy.
Testing of the Middle Ear
Sound must first travel past the eardrum and through the middle ear space before it can reach the inner ear where hearing begins to take place. To ensure that sound is traveling as it should, your audiologist will do a "pressure" test using specialized equipment to check the mobility of your eardrum and the three small bones (ossicles) in your middle ear.
Threshold Testing in SoundBooth
Your audiologist will then seat you inside a sound insulated booth and use insert or over-the-ear earphones that are connected to an audiometer.
You will first be asked to repeat words at different loudness levels. This testing determines the softest level at which you can hear speech and how well you understand speech in optimal listening situations. You will then be asked to push a button when you hear tones/beeps at different loudness levels and different frequencies. This testing determines the exact point (or "threshold") at which you can hear the different sounds.
If your audiologist feels it is necessary, additional speech-in-noise testing may also be done.
The results of your hearing assessment will be recorded on a form called an audiogram, which will be reviewed with you. The audiogram reflects your level of hearing in frequencies (pitch) and decibels (loudness). If you have a hearing loss, your audiologist will educate you on the type, pattern and degree of your hearing loss. She/he will also educate you on how your hearing loss may be affecting your ability to understand words during normal conversational speech in quiet and in noise.
If the results of your hearing assessment suggest the presence of some disease process, your audiologist will refer you for further medical testing and treatment.
If a hearing loss is detected and there is no need for further medical testing, your audiologist will discuss rehabilitative options, such as hearing aids, education on adjusting to hearing aids, aural rehabilitation classes and assistive listening devices, with you.