Hearing loss is something that is actually quite common, it affects almost every 1 in 6 adults. It is a completely natural process that is caused by either too much noise or just by aging. Most people might not even know they have a problem as it happens slowly and gradually so it’s important to get a hearing aid test every once in a while.
There are also different types of hearing loss so it’s important to determine what kind you might have to know whether you need BTE, ITE, ITC, CIC or custom made earplugs. If the middle or outer ear is affected by hearing loss, sound levels are harder to hear and people might sound like they are mumbling. If the inner ear is affected then you could be hard of hearing when higher frequencies are involved and some letters and pronunciations might be difficult to hear also.
There are many signs that could tell you if you are suffering from some kind of hearing loss. Some of these may include:
- people telling you that the TV or radio is too loud;
- you having trouble understanding the dialogue at the cinema;
- telephone conversations have gotten a bit more difficult;
- you are constantly asking people to repeat things or you’re misunderstand many conversations;
- you have a hard time following group conversations;
- you can’t hear people clearly if there is background noise;
- you’re feeling alone or isolated because you can’t hear people properly;
- you have started to avoid social outings because of your hearing;
- the people around you might have suggested you are struggling with your hearing.
If all or some of these situations seem familiar to you then you might want to go and get a hearing aid test. Let’s go over what’s involved in one of these tests so you know what to expect.
Before you even begin with the test, you will most likely need to fill out paperwork and put down any sort of personal information as well as medical history and any kind of insurance. After this, you will go in to see your audiologist who will then review all of your personal information and ask you questions relating your health and the environments that you spend most of your time hearing in. This is a great time to ask your audiologist any questions you might have about the procedure or hearing loss in general.
So the first stage of the actual exam is performed by using an otoscope. This is a handy device that can look inside the entire ear canal and eardrum to see if there is any obstruction or blockage that might be occurring like ear wax or something else. You can also see if there is any physical damage like a scratch on your ear drum that could be causing your hearing loss or pain. Some audiologists even have otoscopes that use video technology so you can actually see inside the ear.
The next stage of the exam is called the pure tone hearing test. This is usually done in a sound proof room or booth where your audiologist will give you a pair of headphones connected to an audiometer which will then start to send a series of different tones at different volumes so your audiologist can determine which sounds you are finding difficult to hear. This is a series of you hearing a sound or not hearing a sound in which you will have to either raise your hand or answer with something like yes so your audiologist can record your results.
The last stage is a speech test where you will have to listen to various words and repeat them back to your audiologist so he can determine whether you understand what you are hearing. This will also include background noise to see how you are in the outside world. All your results will be recorded on an audiogram, which at the end your audiologist will review alongside you to help you understand what is causing your hearing loss and what form of treatment would be best designed for your personal needs.