People are often under the mistaken impression that all types of hearing evaluations are basically the same. The truth is that there are differences in the types of hearing tests that are out there, and being informed about the actual procedures involved in hearing evaluations can be beneficial.
A comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessment is conducted by an audiologist. It can measure not only the extent of the hearing damage but also the actual cause for the hearing loss. This type of evaluation can result in further medical examinations like blood tests or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)s. The purpose of these additional evaluations is to assess whether there are any underlying medical problems that could be causing the hearing loss.
A complete hearing assessment involves checking inside your ear canal for any excessively accumulated earwax and making sure that the eardrum is in a good working order. A tone test usually follows this physical assessment, which checks for your ability to pick up various frequencies of sound ranging from low to high pitched.
Following the frequency assessment, your abilities to register and comprehend speech are evaluated. This part of the test determines how well you are able to decipher softly spoken words and whether you have sufficient sound clarity while hearing speech. Your preferred sound volume for speech is also tested and stretched to a volume that is uncomfortable for you to hear. These different volume limits depict your MCL and your UCL levels.
After the volume test, your bone conduction ability is evaluated with a bone vibrator which is positioned right behind your ear. The purpose of this test is to determine whether you have any type of blockage within the middle ear. Finally, your eardrum mobility is tested and sometimes a test to examine your reflex tone is also conducted.
After the completion of all the evaluations it is important to request your audiologist to explain your hearing evaluation results. You can also ask them for any suggested recommendations that they might have regarding any required follow-up measures.
In contrast to audiologists, hearing aid dispensers are only authorized to test for hearing problems with the sole intention of fitting and dispensing hearing aids. These tests are conducted at no cost to the customer at various hearing aid shops but are not accurate in terms of medical diagnoses. Seek the help of your primary care physician if you feel you require a professional hearing evaluation so that they may refer you to an audiologist. Only after obtaining a comprehensive hearing evaluation by an audiologist that determines significant hearing loss should you actually think about obtaining hearing aids.