Diagnostic Hearing Examinations
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The first step in addressing your hearing issue is a thorough multi-part diagnostic hearing exam to evaluate all aspects of your hearing and determine where the problems may lie. At Memorial Hearing in Houston, we take the time to ensure we fully understand the nature of your hearing loss, to be able to recommend the best solution. Your comprehensive hearing examination will involve three types of testing: an otoscopy, immittance testing, and audiometric testing. This will let us determine the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing.
What is an otoscopy?
An otoscopy is an examination of the ear using an otoscope, which is a specialized instrument for visually assessing the ear. It contains a light source and a magnifying lens that allows your audiologist to see into the ear canal to visually assess its condition, which includes looking for any signs of irritation or infection.
What is immittance testing?
Immittance testing (sometimes also referred to as a tympanogram) involves placing a small probe in the ear that delivers a specific set of small pressure impulses and tones, which automatically records the response of the ear drum. Immittance testing is effective at diagnosing pathology of the middle ear, as well as the acoustic reflex and the eardrum. Information such as whether there’s a hole/perforation in the eardrum, whether there’s fluid behind the eardrum (like what you may see with children with middle ear issues), positive or negative pressure (like how one feels when they go in an airplane or are congested), as well as many other bits of information are obtained when we do this type of testing. You merely wait patiently while the test is conducted and the machine collects all the information.
What is audiometric testing?
Unlike the other tests, audiometric testing is one that requires you to give feedback to your hearing specialist about what you are hearing or not hearing during the test. A variety of tones and sounds will be played by an audiometer through a set of headphones to test the entire frequency range of your hearing. The main point behind this exam is to see what is the very softest that you can hear each tone per frequency as that will help us determine which frequencies you may need amplified should there be any hearing loss.
At Memorial Hearing, you can be sure that your testing will be diagnostic, not just a screening, so that we can determine not only IF there is a hearing loss, but if so, what kind. We test the tones not only with headphones (air conduction) but we also test the tones again using a bone oscillator on the mastoid bone (bone conduction). This allows us to get the best hearing exam results in order to determine the type of hearing loss should there be loss in order to know what needs to be done next.
Some patients presented with hearing loss do not need a hearing aid, rather, they may need medicine, surgery, or other appropriate treatments. You will also be asked to repeat words and phrases that help determine your ability to understand them with various levels of background noise present. Speech testing is one of the most important components of the diagnostic exam as it really gives the audiologist a better idea of what to expect with regards to fitting hearing aids should there be hearing loss. Two different patients can have the same exact tone graph but completely different speech results and that will help determine if they should even get a hearing aid, and if so, what kind and which brand might work better.
Be aware of gimmicky practices that offer “free hearing tests” or “free screenings” as they are most likely not doing most of these diagnostic tests and therefore can miss a lot of crucial information when it comes to your hearing health. Hearing loss or not, it’s important to have a baseline audiogram so that in case something changes down the line, you have something to compare it to
How to Know When You Need a Hearing Test
Poor hearing is one of the most widespread treatable conditions that seniors suffer from, though it can most definitely affect younger people too. When it comes to your hearing, you are the person best equipped to first recognize when there is a problem.
Perhaps the clearest sign you need a hearing test is when you find yourself asking people to repeat things more often than you used to or that everyone around you is suddenly mumbling. You also might find yourself ‘letting things go’ or nodding without understanding what someone said because it sounded muffled and indistinct from background noises. A persistent ringing sound in your ear, called tinnitus, is another red flag, which can appear after exposure to loud noises. Increased difficulty conversing on phones and using other technologies is another sign. Since these are more challenging environments compared to direct conservation, the first indication may appear when engaged in this.
Personal & Professional Care in Houston
At Memorial Hearing in Houston, we are committed to offering you the personal and professional care you need to get the right solution to your hearing problem. Dr. Elly Pourasef and her staff will also continue to be involved afterward to ensure your hearing aids are always functioning correctly.
If you have concerns about your hearing or notice you are struggling to understand what people are saying, contact Memorial Hearing today to schedule a diagnostic hearing exam so you can be properly evaluated by a Houston audiologist.