The average person waits seven years to seek treatment for their hearing loss. If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and get a hearing test, you may be a little apprehensive or unsure of what to expect. Below is a rundown of what will happen at your first hearing exam.
Hearing Health History
The first thing your audiologist will do is take a comprehensive hearing health history. There are many possible causes of hearing loss, so your doctor may ask you other questions, for example about your cardiovascular health or childhood illnesses.
You’ll also discuss your symptoms of hearing loss, such as what sounds you have difficulty hearing and what listening environments are especially challenging. It may be helpful to keep a list of problems you’re experiencing for a few weeks before your appointment so you don’t forget anything.
The audiologist will ask about your family’s health history to determine if there are any inherited conditions that could contribute to your hearing loss.
The hearing test itself is painless and non-invasive. You’ll sit in a quiet, soundproof room and wear headphones or earbuds. You may notice speakers around the room, which are used for infant hearing tests.
There are two tests you’ll likely undergo. The first is pure tone audiometry, and the second is speech audiometry.
Pure Tone Audiometry
This test involves listening to tones played at various pitches and volumes. You’ll be asked to indicate whenever you hear one of the tones, no matter how faint it is. The purpose of this test is to determine the quietest volume you can hear across various frequencies.
Speech audiometry is similar to pure tone audiometry, except instead of listening to tones you’ll listen to speech sounds and be asked to repeat the words back that you hear. Speech audiometry can be used to determine your most comfortable listening volume, including the loudest sound that is comfortable for you to hear.
After the Test
After your hearing exam, your audiologist will review your audiogram, a chart used to show exactly what degree of hearing loss you experience. The audiogram is also useful when it comes time to program your hearing devices.
A hearing test is just the first step in the hearing rehabilitation process. It’s important to listen to your audiologist if they recommend treatment, because left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social withdrawal, depression and even cognitive decline.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Hearing & Balance Center at Charleston ENT today!