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Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

Otoscope and headphones on top of audiogram

The hearing test honestly is the easy part. The difficult part is acknowledging your hearing loss and actually reserving the hearing test in the first place.

You’ve more than likely heard the statistics by now: 48 million people in the US suffer from hearing loss but only a minor fraction actually do anything about it, and only 20 percent of those who could reap benefits from hearing aids actually use them.

So if you’ve already set up your hearing test, well done, you’ve already overcome the greatest obstacle to healthier hearing.

The hearing exam, as you’ll witness, is a simple and easy, non-invasive process that will pinpoint the level of your hearing loss to help establish the most appropriate course of treatment.

Shortly after you initially arrive at the office, you’ll start by filling out some paperwork. Then, you’ll meet with your hearing care professional to talk about your hearing health history.

Your Hearing Health History

Your hearing loss, if existing, can be brought on by exposure to loud sound, the natural aging process, or by an underlying condition. You’ll want to rule out any underlying medical conditions before proceeding to the actual hearing test.

If you have an impaction of earwax, for example, you could be hearing better within a few minutes shortly after a professional cleaning. The presence of any other ailments will be evaluated and the applicable referral made, if necessary.

After going over your basic medical history, you’ll discuss your exposure to loud sounds, your hearing loss symptoms, and exactly what you wish to achieve with better hearing.

It’s critical to determine potential causes, how symptoms are influencing your life, and how better hearing will improve your life, which is after all the entire point. Be leery of the practitioner that doesn’t appear to really care about the reasons why you want to enhance your hearing to begin with.

Testing Your Hearing

There’s one additional step to take before beginning the hearing test: the visual investigation of the ear with a device called an otoscope. This will help rule out any problems with the ear canal, the eardrum, or the abnormal buildup of earwax.

Next, you’ll be accompanied to a sound-treated room with your hearing care professional. You’ll be instructed to put on headphones, and the provider will start to play you some sounds.

You will be presented with a variety of sounds at assorted frequencies, and you’ll be asked to identify the quietest sounds you can hear at each pitch. This is referred to as your hearing threshold, and the hearing care professional will record these values on a graph called an audiogram.

The hearing test may also include speech testing, where you’ll be asked to repeat the words presented to you. Assorted types of words, delivered at various volumes with and without background noise, will be introduced. This will help establish if hearing aids can help you with speech understanding.

At the conclusion of the testing, your hearing care provider will discuss the results with you.

Assessing Your Hearing Test Results

Referring to your audiogram, your hearing care provider will now talk about your hearing in both ears. Depending on the results, your hearing will be classified as normal or as displaying mild, moderate, severe, or profound hearing loss.

If a hearing loss is found, the next move is discussing your treatment options. Seeing that there are no existing medical or surgical treatments to repair hearing damage, this means assessing your hearing aid options.

Current hearing aids are available in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and colors, at a variety of price points with a number of sophisticated functions and features. In selecting your hearing aids, it’s crucial to work with a competent hearing care professional for three main reasons:

  1. They can help you identify the best hearing aid model to satisfy all of your goals.
  2. They can help you identify the advanced functions you need—as well as with the ones you don’t—at a price tag that fits your budget.
  3. They can program your new hearing aids to enhance only the sounds you have trouble hearing—determined by the hearing test—ensuring optimal sound quality.

And that’s it, a fast, simple process in return for a lifetime of better hearing. We’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

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