Diagnostic hearing testing is the fundamental tool doctors use to determine if a person has hearing loss or other aural problems, and what the next step is to help people hear better. These diagnostic tools and procedures are very sophisticated today.
If you are concerned about your or your child’s hearing for any reason, the first step is to call Audiology and Hearing Solutions to schedule a hearing evaluation. These are normally covered by your health insurance. Before testing, our doctors of audiology will get a full case history which includes questions about your overall health and family history. They will also perform outcomes measures which focus on how well you hear in certain situations, how often you are in crowds or loud gatherings, and how you hear at home as well as your perceived hearing difficulty. This precursor to a hearing test gives audiologists valuable information about your specific hearing and communication needs.
A hearing evaluation is painless and can provide a wide variety of information for your audiologist and physician. Information related to your hearing levels, but also cognitive function, hearing in noise as well as early detection of many other health concerns. Many patients are referred by doctors and many visit us on their own; the personnel at Audiology and Hearing Solutions will advise if you a referral or other information is needed.
Hearing tests are generally comprised of different, smaller evaluations. Pure-tone testing is used to determine the softest tone you can hear at many frequencies, while bone conduction testing evaluates the vibration reception through the bones near the ear.
Audiologists also examine the ear canal and test the middle ear for the health of the eardrum. These tests help determine the probable source of your hearing loss. This helps establish what recommendations will be made for types and power of hearing aids, should you need them.
Since hearing in noise is often a major reason people come see us for testing, at Audiology and Hearing Solutions, we complete hearing testing in simulated noise situations to see the extent of difficulties that you may have hearing in noise, not just hearing sound.
A detailed map or graph is generated that shows your exact pattern of hearing ability and where problems exist at certain frequencies and volumes. This allows our audiologists to more accurately adjust your hearing devices to your specific hearing needs.
Speech recognition/Live speech mapping
Speech testing is also an invaluable part of the diagnostic hearing evaluation. Speech testing is used to determine the softest speech a patient can recognize as well as the percentage of words you can understand clearly when they are presented at a level we know you can hear. You will be asked to repeat the word that came through the earphones.
Live speech mapping (also known as Real-Ear Measures) brings recognition of the spoken word into the high-tech computing realm. This computer-aided testing enable the audiologist to tune your hearing aids and adjust them for the best speech understanding possible.
The display shows how your hearing aids can be adjusted. You and your family member can see how the electronic adjustments work. Once adjusted, today’s amazing hearing devices can even be set to adjust on their own to various speech environments.
Live speech mapping is close to real-life hearing situations for voices in a quiet setting. Its accuracy is well known, and this method reduces the number of times you will need adjustments in the office.
If possible, bring a family member to the appointments. This person is most familiar with your hearing capabilities and will have his or her own take of what they see happening in conversation.
If a patient brings a family member with them, our audiologists are also able to simulate how you hear based on the results of the evaluation. This provides a very good counseling tool for the family to help them understand the difficulties that the person with hearing loss is facing.