How Does an Audiologist Test for Hearing Loss
The trouble with hearing loss is that it can come on gradually, making it difficult to personally detect. Luckily, a trained audiologist has the right tools to test for hearing loss and the knowledge to effectively treat the condition.
With hearing loss, it can be easy to simply assume that other people aren’t speaking loudly enough, that the neighbors are being unreasonable when they ask us to turn the TV down, that the music is too loud in this bar and that’s why we can’t follow the conversation as well as everyone else in the group. The truth is, there’s really no way to know the extent of your hearing loss without having your hearing tested. When you make an appointment with one of these trained professionals, they will conduct a series of tests to quantify your hearing loss.
Checking your medical and family history
There are sometimes lifestyle and genetic factors that can contribute to hearing loss. An audiologist’s first step will be to check your medical history for any injuries, head trauma or genetic conditions like Meniere’s disease, which may be contributory factors. After this, it’s time to take a look at the ears themselves.
The otoscopy test
This is a close look at the ear canal and eardrum using a tool called an otoscope. Your audiologist will use this to look for any signs that could contribute to hearing loss, such as excessive wax buildup, deposits of hardened wax or any other obstructions. They will also check for signs of infection or a ruptured eardrum.
The tympanometry test
Next up is the tympanometry test. This is to test middle ear function and identify any abnormalities in inner ear fluid that may contribute to hearing loss and ensure free movement of the eardrum. A slight amount of pressure is applied to the eardrum in order to gauge its response. It is effective in identifying excess fluid, infection or Eustachian tube dysfunction.
The audiometry test
Finally, the audiologist will perform a hearing test known as an audiometry test. In most cases, you will be placed in a quiet room or booth and will be asked to wear a pair of headphones. Tones will be played in each ear, starting soft and get progressively louder. You need to indicate to the audiologist which tones you can hear by pressing a button or signaling the audiologist. This will help identify which frequencies you struggle most with and how to best address it.
Whatever the cause, however, and whatever the extent, an audiologist will be able to provide you with a solution to improve your quality of life and mitigate the effects of your hearing loss on your day-to-day life!