The Effects of Hearing Loss and Sound Voids™ can be minimized if:
- Your problem is correctly diagnosed;
- You receive the right type of treatment; and
- You and your hearing care team are committed to solving the problem
Basic Hearing Testing
A basic hearing test is performed in a quiet area (preferably a Sound Booth) with an audiometer, a device that produces various pitch sounds (frequencies) at different levels (intensities). The person responds to the sounds by either raising his/her hand or pushing a button. Results are then charted on an audiogram, which gives the audiologist an indication of whether hearing is within normal limits or if a problem may exist. If a hearing loss is detected, more testing can be performed to better define the nature and extent and possible cause of the hearing loss.
Step One: The Interview
Purpose: To help your AudigyCertified™ practice determine the extent of your problem and uncover any specific areas that may require further attention.
Some Typical Questions:
- Has anyone else in your family had hearing loss?
- Have you had any illnesses or injuries that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you taken any medications that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you been exposed to loud noises in your job or leisure activities?
Step Two: The Examination
Purpose: To help your AudigyCertified™ practice determine whether the hearing difficulty you are experiencing could be caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or ear drum. They will use a special instrument called an otoscope or video otoscope to inspect the outer ear.
Step Three: Hearing Tests
Purpose: To help the hearing care professional determine the nature of your hearing loss. Your hearing care professional may include hearing tests like the following depending on his or her assessment of your needs:
- Audiometric pure tone evaluation to measure your hearing at different frequencies.
- Speech evaluation to measure how well you hear and understand ordinary conversation at different volumes.
- Immittance middle ear evaluation to measure how your ear drum and hearing react to varying degrees of air pressure.
If you are suffering from a hearing loss, your results will be documented on an audiogram.
Step Four: Treatment Options
Hearing aids come in a variety of designs and with a wide range of functions and features to address an individual’s specific needs. The most basic components include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and (in the case of digital hearing aids) a small computer. The unprecedented effectiveness of modern digital systems comes from a powerful combination of professional expertise, software, and hardware.
Surgery & Implants
Devices surgically inserted into the ear to improve hearing, facilitate lip-reading, and make it easier to distinguish certain sounds. These are typically most helpful to deaf or profoundly hearing impaired people who cannot use hearing aids.
A few examples of surgical implants:
- Cochlear Implants
- Middle Ear Implants
- Bone-Anchored Hearing Systems
- Auditory Brainstem Implants
Assistive listening devices
Specialized technologies that help people with all degrees of hearing loss. These devices can facilitate improved face-to-face communication, reception of electronic media, telephone reception, and reception of important warning sounds and situations.
Additional Hearing Tests
There are many other tests that can be performed by the doctor of audiology to understand the extent and possible cause of the loss. Each evaluates a different part of the ear. Some of the typical tests performed are:
- Tympanogram – tests the eardrum and the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum)
- Acoustic reflexes – measures the movement of the tiny bones behind the eardrum
- Otoacoustic emission (OAE) – checks the function of the tiny little "hair cells" in the inner ear
- Speech testing – evaluates the effect of the hearing loss on understanding of speech. Sometimes this is performed both in quiet and with a background noise, using live or recorded voice
- Auditory Evoked Potentials (ABR) – checks the acoustic nerve function up to and into the first part of the brain (Pons)
- Electronystagmography (ENG) – evaluates the part of the inner ear controlling balance. Usually performed on individuals who experience dizziness or balance problem