According to a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 2016, “An estimated 25.4 million, 10.7 million, 1.8 million, and 0.4 million US residents aged 12 years or older, respectively, have mild, moderate, severe, and profound better-ear hearing loss.” In other words, hearing loss is extremely common across all age groups.
In order to be treated for hearing loss, you must first undergo a comprehensive hearing evaluation. These evaluations are usually comprised of a number of tests, some of which we review below.
For a pure-tone test, you will sit in a soundproof booth and wear a set of headphones. A series of tones at various pitches and volumes will be played through the headphones, some of which may be barely audible. You’ll be asked to respond – by raising your hand, pushing a button or something similar – each time you hear a tone. The purpose of this test is to uncover the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies.
Speech & Word Recognition Test
This test is similar to the pure-tone test, except instead of tones being played, the audiologist will talk to you through the headphones and ask you to repeat a series of simple words spoken at different volumes. This test may take place with background noise playing, as this is what most listening environments, such as Little Italy Restaurant, are like. This test reveals the soften speech sounds you’re able to understand.
During a tympanometry test, the audiologist will place a small device in the ear canal and push air into the ear canal to move the eardrum. A machine records the movement on a graph called a tympanogram. The purpose of the test is to find out if there is an ear infection or other issue present.
Acoustic Reflex Test
This test reveals how well the ear responds to loud sounds. With normal hearing, a tiny muscle inside the ear tightens when you hear loud sounds; this is known as the acoustic reflex. During the test, the audiologist will place a soft rubber tip within the ear, and a series of loud sounds will be sent through the tip. A machine records this information and indicates when the sound has triggered a reflex. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Hearing Healthcare Center today.