Your auditory system consists of many complex parts that function together successfully so that you can hear normally. When any one component of the system isn’t functioning normally, you may experience loss of hearing.
To accurately describe hearing loss, we must determine the following:
- Type of hearing loss
- Degree of hearing loss
- Configuration of hearing loss
We will determine these three factors by performing a diagnostic hearing evaluation.
Having a diagnostic hearing evaluation is the first step in determining the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss.
For accuracy, we conduct hearing tests in sound-treated rooms using special earphones and equipment that has been calibrated to national standards. The hearing test begins with a thorough discussion about your symptoms, medical history, and any other concerns you may have. Depending on your hearing loss symptoms and case history, your audiologist will perform several different tests, which may include the following:
- Otoscopic examination to evaluate the status of your outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum
- Tympanometry / immittance testing to reveal the status of your middle ear system
- Air conduction and bone conduction threshold testing to determine the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies. This testing also reveals the type, degree and configuration of your hearing loss. It is more than a hearing screening.
- Word recognition testing to assess your ability to understand speech when the volume of the speech signal is adequate for your level of hearing
- Otoacoustic emission testing to differentiate sensory (inner ear) from neural (nerve) hearing loss
- Loudness discomfort testing to measure your ability to tolerate loud sounds and identify the presence of decreased sound tolerance
Following the testing, the audiologist will explain the results to you and answer any questions you may have.