If you’ve experienced changes in your hearing, the single most important thing you can do for your hearing health – and overall health – is to take a hearing test.
Because hearing loss is an invisible condition that occurs gradually, most people do not notice changes right away. In fact, people tend to accommodate their diminished hearing abilities by turning up the volume louder or asking people to speak up. It may not occur to most people that there may be an issue with their hearing abilities.
In this way, hearing tests are extremely important – especially if you are age 50 or older. Hearing specialists recommend taking an annual hearing test from the age of 50, if only to establish a baseline of your hearing abilities. This makes it easier to detect any changes in your hearing abilities later on.
If you’ve just scheduled your first hearing test with us at Akamai Hearing Aids, congratulations! You are on the first step to better hearing health. Hearing tests are a multi-step process; they are simple, painless, and noninvasive. Here’s what to expect at a hearing test with our friendly team at Akamai Hearing Aids.
Preparing for Your Hearing Test
Unlike other medical tests, hearing tests are fairly simple. You may eat and drink as normal. Be prepared to provide us with information about your personal medical history, as well as your family’s. If you are on any medication, or if you’ve had a cold in the days prior to the hearing test, be sure to let us know, as these factors could play into your hearing abilities.
Consultation with Your Hearing Specialist or Audiologist
Before any testing begins, you will have a conversation with your hearing specialist or audiologist about your personal and family medical history. We’ll ask if you are currently on any medication, if you’ve recently had a cold or ear infection, and if you were recently exposed to high volumes of noise.
The more information you can provide us about your daily life, your job, and regular activities, the better! In some cases, these factors may interfere with accurate results for the test. If a hearing loss is detected, this information will come in handy later in determining the best course of treatment.
After the conversation, we’ll take a quick and painless look at your ears. Using an otoscope, we’ll take a look in your ear canals and at your eardrums. We’re looking for any blockage in the area, impacted earwax, or damage to the eardrums. These factors could potentially cause issues with hearing.
Hearing tests are designed to determine the various aspects of your hearing, as well as your brain’s ability to receive sound. They also give us information on whether you experience a hearing loss, and if so, the type of hearing loss and the degree to which you experience it. Hearing tests are administered one ear at a time. Here are a few hearing tests you may take at Akamai Hearing Aids:
Pure tone audiometry
You will be given a pair of headphones through which sound will play. When you hear a sound, you will be asked to raise your hand or push a button. These tones will be played first a low volume and will increase until you can hear them. The series of tones will be varied pitch and loudness This test measures your hearing ability in terms of frequency (measured in hertz) and loudness (measured in decibels).
Speech recognition test
During this test, you will be tested one ear at a time. We will read you a series of words and you will be asked to repeat them. The volume for the words will begin at a low volume and rise until you can hear them. Often times, this test includes a spondee test, which determines your ability to recognize multi-syllabic words. The speech and word recognition tests indicate your hearing ability and ability to understand in terms of normal conversation.
Auditory brainstem response
This test determines whether or not you are experiencing sensorineural hearing loss, which relates to issues with your inner ear. You will be asked to sit still while we attach electrodes to your head and neck area and send a series of clicking noises through headphones. During this test, we will record your brain’s response to sounds.
Reviewing the Audiogram and Next Steps
The results of your hearing test are recorded on an audiogram, a visual representation of your hearing abilities. Each ear’s ability will be graphed separately, in terms of decibel and frequency levels. The result for speech recognition is usually recorded as a percentage. These results are divided into normal hearing (no hearing loss), or varying degrees of hearing loss. From these results, we will also be able to determine the configuration of your hearing loss (unilateral or bilateral).
We will review the results with you and recommend next steps based on the findings. If a hearing loss is detected, we will recommend hearing aids that best fit into your lifestyle and needs, as well as your budget.
You don’t have to live with untreated hearing loss! To schedule a hearing test, contact us today at Akamai Hearing Aids.