The first step in treating a hearing loss issue is to a conduct hearing test to help understand the problem and diagnose the underlying causes to determine the best course of action to take. Hearing tests for adults are quite detailed and you can always ask your Houston hearing specialist to explain what it is they will be doing. You can also inform yourself beforehand to be better equipped to ask questions during your appointment. At Memorial Hearing, a full diagnostic examination is done, unlike most places offering “free screenings”. This will allow the audiologist to determine if hearing aids are even the answer, as sometimes the cause of the loss can be treated medically once diagnosed properly.
The purpose of a hearing test is to precisely and scientifically identify the functional problems with your hearing, and which part(s) of the ear is involved. The ear is made up of the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear, and problems with each can manifest themselves differently. Sounds may simply not be getting through to the inner ear properly, where they are converted into nerve impulses, making sounds seem muffled and soft. Additionally, there could be a problem with the conversion process itself, when the inner ear is damaged. Through a variety of different tests, these issues can be diagnosed and a proper treatment plan can be implemented.
The first step in the hearing test procedure involves learning about your symptoms and what caused you to realize you had a hearing issue. The audiologist will then perform a physical inspection of your ears and ear canal, using specialized instruments to see clearly. The inspection can reveal things like severely impacted earwax, an ongoing infection or damage to the eardrum. Further middle ear testing is then completed, allowing your audiologist to have an idea of what may be happening behind the eardrum, such as pressure, fluid, or fixation of the ear bones. Next, a precise set of hearing tests are performed, sending sounds down both through the ear canal (air conduction testing), and with contact on the skin above bone (bone conduction testing). These tests help to determine if the problem is with the outer, middle ear, or the inner ear, and sometimes it’s a combination.
Clinical results about any morphological problems, infections, or tumors are noted, and the results of auditory tests are recorded as a function of sound frequency (pitch) and sound decibel level (loudness). The normal ranges for healthy ears are well established, so these plots can identify hearing problems, as well as which frequencies are affected and how severely. Results may also be obtained as to how well you can hear human speech and other specific sounds, both when they are soft or with background noise present. This helps identify how your hearing impairment affects your daily life.
If you suspect a problem with your hearing and want answers, contact Memorial Hearing today to schedule a Houston hearing test.