Do you think you may have a hearing loss? If you’ve been having a hard time keeping up with conversations, or you think you aren’t hearing some of the sounds around you, it’s time to schedule a hearing test. This test will show you exactly what sounds you’re hearing and what sounds you’re missing. The test also helps your ENT specialist suggest the best treatment options for your hearing loss. Never had a hearing test? Here’s what to expect during a hearing test.
Just like your other medical professionals, we want to know a bit about your health history. If this is your first visit to the office, we’ll ask you to fill out a health history form and let us know a bit more about your overall health. Knowing something about your medical history helps us determine the cause of your hearing loss. For example, hearing loss can sometimes be caused by ear infections, injuries, allergies, or even some medications.
We may also ask you about your work history, or if you have loud hobbies. Another main cause of hearing loss is exposure to very loud noise, so finding out about your daily exposure to noise helps us understand more about your hearing loss.
Questions About Your Lifestyle
We’ll also ask you some questions about your lifestyle and the hearing loss symptoms you’re currently experiencing. For example, we may ask you how much time you spend at work, at home, or at social events. We want to make sure we understand your hearing needs. If you spend a lot of time straining to hear at work, we’ll suggest a treatment option that matches your needs. If you have difficulty hearing conversations with friends or can’t hear the TV, we may recommend hearing aids with different programs to match those needs.
During the hearing test, we’ll take a moment to look inside your ears. We’ll examine your outer ear and look down your ear canal with an otoscope. This is completely non-invasive and painless. We will look for any signs of damage to the ear, and check for a buildup of earwax that could be affecting your hearing.
Pure Tone Test
Your hearing test will take place in a quiet room or in a sound-treated booth to block out other sounds like people passing in the hall or the sound of the air conditioner. We’ll ask you to wear headphones and listen carefully.
During the pure tone test, you’ll hear a series of tones. These can be at any pitch or volume. Just let us know when you hear a sound, even if it’s very soft. This test is measuring the softest sound you can hear at each pitch.
The next test uses speech instead of tones. You will hear a word and we ask you to repeat the word back to us. Just like the pure tone test, the speech test will play sounds at different pitches and volumes. The test measures the softest speech you can understand at each pitch.
Speech in Noise
A final test is the speech in noise test. Once again you will hear speech, and you can repeat the words back to us. This time though, there will also be background sounds playing. The test simulates a real-world setting full of background noise.
Reading the Audiogram
Your results will be displayed on an audiogram, a graph that shows the softest sounds you can hear at each pitch. This shows if you’re struggling to hear certain sounds in your daily life or missing some sounds altogether. We’ll explain your results so you can make an informed decision about your hearing health.
Treating Hearing Loss
The most common treatment for mild and moderate hearing loss is wearing hearing aids. These devices amplify sounds in the pitches you’re struggling to hear. They also help you focus on speech sounds and they’ll reduce background sounds. In some cases we may recommend a cochlear implant, or surgery to treat a middle ear infection or reconstruct the tympanic membrane in the ear.
Call Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists today to book a hearing test. The test is easy, and it will give you valuable information about your hearing health.