When you suspect a possible hearing loss, an audiologist can administer a series of hearing tests that will help narrow down problems. This is the first crucial step in coming up with a treatment plan to help restore your ability to communicate.
Hearing tests at LeMay Hearing & Balance typically involve a four-step process.
Step One: The Interview
Our first step involves a one-on-one interview to help determine the extent of your hearing loss and talk about specific areas that may need additional attention. Some of the questions we’ll ask you include:
- Is there a family history of hearing loss?
- Have you had any illnesses or injuries that have affected your hearing?
- Are you taking medications that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you been exposed to any loud noises in the workplace or during your leisure activities?
Step Two: The Examination
An audiologist will examine your outer ears with an instrument called an otoscope. This will allow us to determine whether your hearing difficulty is being caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal, or a perforated eardrum.
Step Three: Hearing Tests
The next step involves a series of hearing tests to help determine the nature of your hearing loss. Tests could include:
- Audiometric pure tone evaluation, used to measure your hearing at different frequencies.
- Speech evaluation, to measure how well you hear and understand ordinary conversations at different volumes.
- Immittance middle ear evaluation, to measure how your eardrum and hearing react to varying degrees of air pressure.
Your results are plotted on an audiogram, to help show the extent of your hearing loss.
Step Four: Treatment Options
If diagnosed with hearing loss, at this stage we will discuss treatment options designed to improve your communication abilities. There are a variety of solutions, depending on the type and degree of your hearing loss. Possible treatments include:
- Hearing Aids. Hearing aids are medical devices that amplify sounds, improving hearing ability and making speech more intelligible for individuals with hearing loss. The basic components include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and a power supply.
- Assistive Listening Devices. Used alone or in conjunction with hearing aids, assistive listening devices (ALDs) are portable devices that separate speech from background noise, boosting clarity in situations where background noise would otherwise be too distracting.
- Surgical Implants. Surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound for individuals who are severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf, and unable to benefit from traditional hearing implants. They are placed very deeply in the ear canal and not only improve hearing, but also assist in lip-reading and in distinguishing. They include cochlear implants, middle ear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids, and Esteem hearing implant.