Why schedule a hearing test?
Hearing loss is the third most common medical condition in the United States, affecting approximately 20% of the population. As an invisible condition, hearing loss may occur gradually and the symptoms may not be immediately noticeable.
It is estimated that a person waits an average of seven years from the time they first experience changes in their hearing to schedule a hearing test. In this time, untreated hearing loss may have many adverse effects on one’s health and well-being, from physical (balance issues, safety, security) to medical (increased risk for dementia, depression, anxiety) to social (withdrawal from social situations, poor communication in relationships).
What happens during a hearing test?
Hearing tests are painless and noninvasive. After you’ve scheduled a hearing test with us at Preferred Hearing Centers, you’ll be asked to compile your personal and family medical history. Also, we’ll ask you to identify any other health issues you may have, as well as a list of medications you may be taking.
At your hearing test, you’ll meet with one of our hearing professionals first for a consultation. You’ll be asked to provide the above information about your health, as well as your lifestyle. You’ll be asked to identify the times and environments in which you have most difficulty hearing.
WiFi Video Otoscopy
After the conversation, your hearing specialist will perform a physical evaluation using an otoscope. The otoscope allows them to look inside your ears, to check on the health of your ear canals and ear drums. At Preferred Hearing Centers in Orlando and Winter Springs, we use a state-of-the-art Wifi (wireless) video otoscope.
Following the physical examination, you will take a series of hearing tests to identify your current hearing abilities, whether you are experiencing hearing loss, and if so, the configuration of your hearing loss.
Results from your hearing test
Following the series of hearing tests, the results are recorded in an audiogram – a visual representation of your hearing abilities, by ear. The speech recognition test is often recorded as a percentage.
From the audiogram, your hearing specialist will determine whether you have a hearing loss, the configuration of your hearing loss, and whether treatment is necessary. Based on the earlier conversation about your medical history and current lifestyle, your hearing specialist will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.
Types of hearing tests
There are several common hearing tests that we use to gauge your current hearing abilities, and whether you are experiencing a hearing loss. A hearing test identifies your current hearing abilities and indicates to a hearing professional whether you need treatment. Hearing tests are the first step to better hearing – and overall – health.
Pure-tone tests determine the quietest tones you are able to hear at different frequencies, from low to high.
During this test, you will be asked to put on headphones. Your hearing specialist will play a series of tones and ask you to indicate when you can hear the tones played.
With hearing loss, speech recognition becomes difficult, especially with voices of different frequencies. During the speech recognition test, your hearing specialist will either play speech or read aloud to measure the quietest speech you are able to hear. Your hearing specialist will also record word recognition and the ability to correctly repeat back words at specific levels of loudness. This test may occur in a quiet sound proof room or with noise in the background – to simulate natural environments where we may encounter speech.
Your middle ear is instrumental on conducting sounds. Some tests of the middle ear, to ensure proper function, include tympanometry (detection of fluid in the middle ear, perforation of eardrum, or wax blocking canal); acoustic reflex measure’ and static acoustic impedance.