If you suspect you may have hearing loss, it is important to seek proper testing and evaluation by an audiologist. The purpose of an audiological evaluation is to determine whether a hearing loss exists, and if so, the type and severity of your hearing impairment.
The audiologist uses a variety of tests to evaluate your hearing. The process is painless, comfortable and safe.
- The evaluation begins with an exam of the outer ear using an otoscope to check the eardrum and measure pressure in the middle ear.
- The next step is a thorough hearing test to assess your ability to recognize familiar words at different volume levels and to hear different tones.
Common Testing Components
- The audiologist will perform an exam of the outer ear using an otoscope to ensure the ear canal is clear and to check the eardrum.
- Tympanometry measures eardrum mobility and pressure in the middle ear by placing a soft probe in the outer ear.
- The hearing evaluation is done in a sound treated booth with headphones, insert earphones or speakers. You will listen to various tones and indicate when you hear them by pushing a button or raising a hand. Your provider will graph your responses determining how loud a sound has to be for you to hear it. This is repeated for various tones across the range most important for speech.
- Speech Reception testing is done to determine how softly you can hear speech. You will be asked to repeat various two syllable words that will get softer and softer.
- Speech discrimination testing is done to determine if the speech is clear when presented at a comfortable volume (loud enough to easily hear it). You will be asked to repeat various one syllable words and the percentage correct is recorded.
- Results from these tests are recorded on an audiogram which will be shown to you and explained when testing is completed.
Additional tests that may be used include:
- Otoacoustic Emission Testing – a soft probe is placed in the ear canal and clicking or tones are presented. You need only sit quietly as the equipment is measuring an echo-type response directly from your ear.
- Acoustic Reflex Testing – using the same tympanometry equipment, the middle ear reflex will be recorded for various tones and volumes.
- Central Auditory Processing Testing – evaluates how the brain processes information once it is heard; typically done in children and adolescents (age 7+) as a tool to assess speech/language or learning issues.
Depending on the child’s age and developmental level, he/she may participate in testing as described above. For younger children various play techniques are used to test the child’s hearing.
The goal is to keep the child entertained while obtaining the necessary information about their hearing. Most of our rooms are very child friendly and the experience should be fun.