If you suspect that you have some form of hearing loss, you are not alone. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders indicates that roughly 15 percent of adults aged 18 and above report some hearing difficulty.
It’s normal to be apprehensive about taking medical tests for fear of what they may uncover or fear of the tests themselves. But the best way to confirm whether or not you are experiencing hearing loss is by scheduling a test with one of our audiologists at North Houston Hearing Solutions. Whether it’s a first-time visit or a return checkup, it’s often helpful to know what to expect during your hearing test.
Do You Need a Hearing Test?
If you experience sudden hearing loss due to a blockage or an accident, then you should visit a hearing specialist for a test. However, sometimes figuring out whether or not you need a hearing test is a challenge. This is because hearing loss that occurs gradually over time may be difficult to tell until it is too late.
You should schedule an appointment if you find yourself turning up the volume dial frequently, if you struggle to hear in the theater, or if a loved one complains that you are constantly asking them to repeat themselves.
Other people who should consider hearing tests are:
- Those who work around loud equipment and require hearing protection such as construction workers
- Those who hunt or visit a shooting range regularly
- Children experiencing developmental delays
- Elderly patients
What Happens at a Hearing Test?
1. A Comprehensive Interview
The first thing we do when you visit our hearing clinic in North Houston is to conduct a comprehensive interview about your general health history and your hearing health. We will inquire and discuss in detail about any hearing-related symptoms you have.
We will also ask about your lifestyle and employment duties to pinpoint any areas of risk and how they impact your hearing. Although hearing loss can happen to anybody at any time, you need to be aware of certain risk factors such as age, work history, hobbies, and entertainment choices.
2. A Physical Exam
We next conduct a physical examination of your ear canal to see if anything may be impacting your hearing ability. We use a handheld device called an otoscope to assess the condition of your eardrum and look for any inflammation. We also look for the accumulation of earwax inside your ear canal as this can impede your hearing.
3. Administering the Four Hearing Tests
After the physical exam, we next conduct four simple tests in a special testing booth and using a set of headphones. We will play you a series of different sounds and ask you to signal us whenever you hear specific sounds. The four hearing aspects we test are:
- Tone: This test assesses how well you can listen to varying sound pitches that range from low to high.
- Speech: We assess your ability to hear speech, understand it, and carry out a conversation with and without background noise.
- Bone Conduction: We use a small probe/bone vibrator placed behind your ear to test the responsiveness of your inner ear to sound. This test is painless.
- Eardrum Motion: This part of the test assesses whether your eardrum functions correctly. A healthy eardrum should move/vibrate in response to sound.
Review of Test Results and Making a Plan
Once the testing is complete, we review the results for any signs of concern or weakness. If the tests come back normal, we will discuss how to take care of your hearing so that no issue’s surface in the future. But you will need to have your hearing retested during your annual checkup, or you can come back if you still have concerns.
If we find an area of concern, we will tell you and discuss the next steps. If your condition is treatable, we will review the treatment options open to you and answer all your questions. We will also evaluate the impact of hearing loss on your daily life.
Planning for Your Hearing Test
There is minimal planning required for your hearing test apart from following any instructions you were given when you scheduled your appointment. Sometimes the testing process may be different with children; if so, we will tell you how to come to our hearing clinic prepared. You can return to your normal activities after taking the test.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing problems, the best thing is to visit us at North Houston Hearing Solutions today to see how we can help. A painless hearing test can help determine the condition of your hearing and the severity of your hearing loss. It also provides us with invaluable insight regarding your hearing loss and how to treat it.
Contact us today at North Houston Hearing Solutions to book a hearing test or learn more about what happens at a hearing test.
Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 2003, and earned her doctorate of audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA), and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association.