Audiology evaluations consist of a series of tests used to determine whether a hearing loss exists and, if so, measure its type, degree and configuration. An audiologist will assess the results of each individual test in order to develop a treatment plan geared toward your unique hearing loss.
Who Should Be Given an Audiology Evaluation?
An audiology (or hearing) evaluation can benefit patients of all ages, even those who do not exhibit signs of hearing loss.
Hearing loss is a progressive condition that often develops slowly. Many people are not aware of a change in their hearing because they gradually adapt to the subtle changes in their hearing ability over time. Studies indicate that it takes seven years, on average, for a hearing impaired individual to seek treatment.
An audiology evaluation should be the first course of action for anybody who even suspects a hearing loss. The sooner a diagnosis of hearing loss is made, the more successful treatment will be. Early detection means more options for the patient.
Many physicians urge making audiology evaluations a routine part of your overall health care, much like regular vision exams and dental checkups. They are quick, painless and provide immediate results.
The importance of a thorough hearing test cannot be overstated. At Hearing Zone we determine if you have hearing loss by testing you from ear to brain – since the ears are only responsible for part of the difficulty you may be having. With a specialized exam, we will identify which area of the auditory pathways show impairment.
If the test results support treatment with hearing instruments, we use Neurotechnology, the latest standard of hearing aid care. It provides the necessary input to the brain to treat the mechanical and the cognitive aspects of hearing loss.
1. Filtering speech from noise (like in a noisy restaurant)
2. Improving Clarity (did you say pick up my cap? Or my cat?)
3. Assisting with Localization (I heard a bird….but where is it?)
4. Recognizing Speech (If only my kids would talk louder, and slow down!)
We believe that all of this testing is important because YOU are our priority and we never cut corners!
Multiple tests are conducted considering:
Outer Ear- gathers the sound, helps to localize and provides a 10 dB natural boost.
Middle Ear – transfers sound waves into mechanical stimulus
Inner Ear– Frequency analyzer (necessary for pitch)
Brain– The Wernecks area requires information from all these areas to distinguish speech
In order to gain a thorough understanding of your condition, we use the following tests:
Pure tone air – This is the more common test you may have experienced in the past. We measure your ability to hear sounds of various pitches and volumes. Wearing headphones, you will be asked to identify a series of tones by raising a hand, pressing a button, or responding verbally.
Pure tone bone – This specialized test evaluates the area behind the Ear Drum – the middle ear – to rule out anything mechanically wrong such as arthritis (stiffening) in the 3 bones behind the ear drum, (otosclerosis) and other conditions.
Speech discrimination – Here you will repeat words that you hear (but you won’t be allowed to read lips!). This test focuses on the cochlea and the auditory cortex to see if you can understand words clearly.
QuickSIN – Evaluates the brainstem pathways to measure temporal coding (miss beginnings and end of jokes?) and binaural integration (difficulty hearing in noise?).
Tympanometry – This test will show us if your ear drum is moving appropriately and helps us rule out medically treatable conditions.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) – This test requires no work on your part. We simply place a probe in your ear and we can determine if there is a blockage in the ear canal, fluid in the middle ear or damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea.Call Hearing Zone at our Pocatello Location (208) 238-0020 or Blackfoot Location (208) 785-5551 for more information or to schedule an appointment.