Your first visit to a hearing healthcare professional can be daunting but a hearing exam is a simple, painless way to find out if you’re experiencing hearing loss. In most cases, the results are instantaneous – you’ll quickly discover the type of hearing loss you have and the treatments available to you.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to expect:
Before jumping into the physical exam, your hearing healthcare professional will ask you a series of questions to gain a greater understanding about your lifestyle and specific needs. He or she will probably ask about your general health, as well as your motivation for coming in for a hearing evaluation.
The hearing healthcare professional will examine your ear canal and ear drum using a special light, called an otoscope, to look for physical clues about your hearing health.
You will be asked to listen to a series of tones while wearing headphones to evaluate your hearing at difference frequencies and volumes. The headphones are connected to an audiometer which sends tones at various frequencies to one ear at a time. You will be asked to signal by raising your hand or pressing a button when you hear each tone. You will also be asked to respond to the lowest level that you can hear which determines your hearing thresholds.
Your hearing evaluation may include additional tests such as speech audiometry and bone conduction. During the speed audiometry test, your hearing healthcare professional will read lists of words to you and you will be asked to repeat what you hear. During the bone conduction test, vibrating tuning forks will be placed in contact with your head. This test helps to identify problems in the inner ear.
During the hearing test, the hearing healthcare professional will plot points on a graph, called an audiogram, based on your responses to each tone. Once your hearing test is complete, he/she will use this audiogram to explain the findings of your hearing test and propose treatment options.
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