Just like routine dental or vision care, it’s recommended that adults get their hearing checked once every five years, and if you have a hearing loss, annual evaluations are essential. However, it can be intimidating to schedule a hearing evaluation without knowing what to expect. At Applied Hearing Solutions we strive to provide complete patient education, even before you visit our office. If you’re not sure what a hearing evaluation involves, keep reading so that you can learn how important this visit is to your overall hearing health.
Getting To Know You
We treat every patient like they’re a member of our family and place your needs and concerns at the top of our priority list. Understanding your lifestyle, occupation, recreational activities, and how they all relate to your hearing ability provides us with an important foundation. Before beginning your evaluation, Dr. Olson will discuss your medical history to learn about any past injuries or medication that may affect your hearing. Once we have gotten to know you and what brought you to our office, we begin with a visual examination of your ears.
Using a tool called an otoscope, Dr. Olson will begin your hearing evaluation with a comprehensive look inside of your ears. In order to be able to hear clearly, our ear canals must be free from blockages and our eardrums must be intact. Dr. Olson also specializes in earwax removal. He has access to the best earwax softeners and technology to safely and effectively remove your earwax.
Air Conduction Testing
The next step in your hearing evaluation will begin to examine how well you are able to hear sounds of various volumes and frequencies. You will be asked to wear a pair of headphones and Dr. Olson will play a series of beeps in a variety of tones. By indicating when you can hear the sound being played, it provides an understanding of the pitches you are able to hear and evaluates all sections of your ear at once.
Bone Conduction Testing
Many instances of hearing loss originate in the inner ear, and with bone conduction testing, Dr. Olson is able to determine exactly how well this portion of your ear is functioning. Shaped similarly to a pair of headphones, you will be asked to put on a bone conduction device. This device will send vibrations directly to your skull and in a manner similar to air conduction testing, will help determine how well you can interpret various pitches and frequencies.
As the outer and middle ear are bypassed during this test, bone conduction testing focuses solely on the performance of your inner ear. If hearing loss is present, the data gathered from this test helps to determine the cause and location of your impairment.
Speech Recognition And Word Recognition Testing
The final portions of your hearing evaluation are intended to determine how well you can hear and understand spoken words. Verbal communication is typically one of the greatest areas of our lives that are impacted by hearing loss, so it’s crucial to understand how well you can hear and understand spoken words before we discuss any treatment options.
During speech recognition testing, recorded words will be played for you in softer and softer volumes until you can no longer hear them. In a similar fashion, word recognition testing asks that you repeat the words that are played to analyze how well you can both hear and understand verbal communication. If we find that you do have a hearing impairment, the results of these two tests will be helpful in determining how effective hearing aids will be in your daily life.
Speech In Noise (SIN) Testing
Hearing speech in the presence of background noise can be significantly more difficult than in quiet. Unfortunately, this form of testing is often overlooked by most hearing care professionals. The good news is, Dr. Olson always tests your ability to understand speech in noise. Armed with this information, Dr. Olson can recommend more appropriate hearing devices and help provide proper expectations of your ability to understand speech in noise while utilizing treatment.
Applied Hearing Solutions strives to provide comprehensive education for every patient that walks through our doors, so at the conclusion of your hearing evaluation, Dr. Olson will discuss his findings in great detail. Our goal is for you to fully understand how your hearing impairment is affecting your daily life and to offer resources and options for treatment.
Should you decide to purchase hearing aids, you will find that the process is easy and informative. Rather than selling you on the latest models on the market, Dr. Olson will recommend the best treatment option based on your specific hearing needs, ultimately leaving the decision to pursue treatment in your hands. We aim to be your guide during this process and respect whatever course of treatment you feel is most appropriate for you.
Finding success with your new hearing aids is largely dependent on if you have the right technology, programmed precisely to your hearing loss prescription using Real Ear Measurement, and having received excellent training on how to use your devices.