Whether you’ve just begun to experience changes in your hearing or you’ve been using hearing aids for years, a hearing test is an important part of maintaining your hearing health.
Hearing tests are designed to assess your hearing abilities. It is recommended that you take a hearing test annually, regardless of your hearing abilities, if you are aged 50 or older. Hearing loss is currently the third most common medical condition in the United States, after heart disease and diabetes. One in three people over the age of 65, and 50% of people over the age of 75, experience some degree of hearing loss.
It is estimated that people wait an average of seven years from the time they first experience changes in their hearing until the time they decide to seek treatment or help. During this time, untreated hearing loss could have adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Your Hearing Specialist
The first step toward better hearing health, and overall health, is to take a hearing test. A hearing test at Custom Hearing Solutions consists of several steps, all of which are painless and simple. Here’s what to expect:
In preparation for your hearing test, we recommend that you collect your personal and family medical history. If you’re currently taking medication, or if you’ve recently sustained injuries to your head, neck, and jaw area, please be sure to bring any records you have. All of this will play an important role in your evaluation.
When you come in for your hearing test, you’ll meet with a hearing specialist first. During this meeting, your hearing specialist will inquire about your hearing abilities. We’ll ask about the times and locations where you notice difficulties hearing. We’ll also ask about your lifestyle – your employment, activities, hobbies, and athletics – to form a better picture of your hearing needs. We’ll also ask about your medical history and whether there’s a history of hearing loss in your family.
Following the consultation, your hearing specialist will examine your head and ear area. Using an otoscope, your hearing specialist will inspect your ears, checking the canals and ear drums for any signs of injury or damage.
Injury or damage to your ear canals or eardrums could be a cause of hearing loss. Your hearing specialist will also check to see if there is any blockage in your canals, perhaps due to earwax buildup. This step is painless and noninvasive.
Comprehensive Hearing Tests
Your hearing abilities are evaluated in a battery of tests. Hearing tests are designed to evaluate different elements of your hearing. Here at Custom Hearing Solutions, we administer a couple of tests to determine your abilities.
One test is the pure-tone exam. During this segment, you’ll be asked to sit in a soundproof room. Your hearing specialist will play a series of tones at varying volumes and frequencies. You’ll be asked to indicate if and when you hear these tones. This test is designed to evaluate the lowest and highest volumes you can hear, as well as the lowest and highest frequencies.
Another test you’ll take is the speech recognition exam. With hearing loss, your speech recognition abilities could be compromised. It may be difficult to differentiate between similar speech sounds, and also it may be difficult to anticipate speech patterns. During this test, your hearing specialist will read a series of words or phrases, at varying volumes and standing at various distances from you. Your hearing specialist may also move to different positions, as hearing loss could affect the direction from which you hear sounds. You will be asked to repeat the words or phrases read aloud by your hearing specialist.
Reviewing the Results with an Audiogram
The results of your hearing tests are recorded on an audiogram. An audiogram is a visual representation of your hearing abilities, separated by ear. The speech recognition portion of the test is recorded as a percentage. The audiogram is the tool your hearing specialist uses to determine your hearing abilities. It will indicate whether a hearing loss is present, and if so, the degree and configuration of it.
If a Hearing Loss is Present
If your hearing specialist finds a hearing loss, then we’ll discuss next steps with you. Hearing loss is most commonly treated with the prescription of hearing aids. Hearing aids are sophisticated instruments that are customizable to meet diverse hearing needs. Here at Custom Hearing Solutions, we offer advanced devices from leading hearing aid manufacturers. Our specialists will recommend the best hearing aids to fit your hearing and lifestyle needs.