If you are struggling to hear or recognize sounds you may have to make a doctor’s appointment to get your hearing tested. What many people don’t know is that there is a difference between a hearing screening and a hearing evaluation.
A hearing screening is a pass or fail test. This test is done to see if you have normal hearing or not. You may remember doing these tests in the elementary school nurse’s office where you wear some headphones and raise your hand when you hear a beep in your ear. The test consists of listening to a series of beeps at different tones at the limit of normal range. This test can be done at your primary care doctor’s office or even online. This test will not determine the type or extent of hearing loss you may be experiencing. If you happen to fail the test, you will have to go for a hearing evaluation to determine how extreme the hearing loss is. If you don’t think you have issues with your hearing but would still like to get tested you would be recommended for a hearing screening over an evaluation.
A hearing evaluation is a comprehensive performed by a licensed audiologist that includes a review of your case history and several types of hearing tests. It will include counseling to help you review your test results and the audiologist will make recommendations to how to proceed with treatment for your ears. The audiologist will look into your ears with an otoscope to examine the ear canal and ear drum and see if any ear wax is obstructing your hearing and causing hearing loss.
Different types of tests that may fall under the hearing evaluation are:
Air conduction – you will listen to tones through headphones to identify what is the faintest tone you can hear at different pitches
Pure tone bone conduction – using a small vibrator behind the eat that bypasses any in-ear sound blockage and sends tones directly to the hearing organs of the inner ear
Speech testing – checking your ability to understand spoken words in a quiet or noisy environment
Speech reception – this test will help determine the faintest level at which you can understand spoken words
A hearing evaluation gives the audiologist a complete picture of your hearing loss. It determines whether your hearing loss is a result of problems in the inner, middle and outer ear or a combination of the three.
Another type of hearing exam is an audiogram. This is conducted in a soundproof room so no outside noises can tamper with the results. Audiologists use highly sophisticated calibrated equipment during the exam. By running a series of different tests, your hearing ability will be reflected in sound levels and frequencies and the type and severity of your hearing loss will help determine the best solution. Audiologists will conduct a speech exam where you will listen to one and two syllable words at different levels of volume. You will be asked to repeat the words back to the audiologist so they will be able to determine what volume is necessary for you to hear sounds clearly. You may also listen to sentences with noise in the background to determine how much the outside noise affects your overall hearing.
Other types of testing include tympanometry and site of lesion tests. During tympanometry the audiologist will apply slight pressure to the ear to detect any fluid or problems with the middle ear, which may be causing the issues you have with your hearing. Site or lesion testing is used during an audiogram to help find where the problem is within your ear. The audiologist will test the hearing of each ear with one another, changes that take place in signal intensity, your ability to hear with background noise and if you are able to hear sentences that go through your ears at the same time.
At Lakeshore Audiology we guarantee that you will be getting all of the answers to why you may not be hearing correctly. Our experienced staff will perform all of the tests and screenings you may need to determine how you can hear more clearly. Call us today to schedule an appointment at 716-674-4188