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What is involved in a hearing test?

We recommend annual hearing assessments to monitor your hearing health and the basic procedures involved in testing are:


  • Pure tone Audiometry - this assesses your ability to hear sounds at predetermined and calibrated levels within preset frequency bands.


  • Bone conduction testing - this determines the thresholds of the nerve response you have at different frequencies.


  • Speech reception threshold - the levels at which you comprehend basic multi-syllable words.


  • Speech discrimination tests - these assessments are utilized to determine the percentage of words which you understand (single syllable words) at most comfortable listening levels.


  • Tympanometry - this procedure is used to determine the middle ear functioning and the condition of the tympanum or ear drum.


  • Video otoscopy - this is an examination to visually determine by otoscope and video camera, the overall condition of the ear canal and the tympanic membrane.


From the comprehensive examination that you are given and a careful review of your case history, your overall hearing health is evaluated. Your input about your individual history is vital, especially in the following areas:


  • History of hearing loss in the family - were any members of your bloodline family hearing impaired? And if so, what type of hearing loss did they have? Did they utilize amplification/hearing aids?


  • Do you have any history of ear infections and if so when did they occur and were they chronic (did they re-occur often)?


  • Do you have any history of dizziness or nausea or vertigo?Have you experienced any ringing or noises in the ear? (This can include the sound of steam or banging, clicking, or buzzing or static-as on a radio). This condition is termed Tinnitus and that is very important to mention in the Case History.


  • Have you had significant experiences with ear aches or pain or discomfort in the ear or any history of punctured ear drums as a child or as an adult?


  • Have you had any ear surgery?


  • Any history of extended noise exposure at work or while in the military?


  • Any sudden ear injuries or accidents?


  • Any sudden changes in your hearing?


  • Any chemotheraphy? Any radiation treatments?


The overall evaluation of your hearing is reviewed with you in detail and recommendations are made to suit your individual needs. In the case where medical intervention is indicated, your hearing professional, will provide a referral to an otolaryngologist (E.N.T. physician) and furnish copies of your test results to that physician. Eight warning signs indicating the need for medical referral:


  1. Deformity of the ear.

  2. Drainage (within the last 90 days).

  3. Sudden hearing loss or rapidly progressing loss.

  4. Acute or chronic dizziness.

  5. Pain or discomfort in the ear(s).

  6. Unilateral hearing loss, sudden or recent onset (90 days).

  7. Air bone gap greater than 15 dB at 500 Hz, 1000Hz, and 2000 Hz.

  8. Cerumen accumulation or foreign body in ear canal(s).

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