When you begin to notice changes in your hearing, scheduling a hearing assessment is necessary to address any challenges you may face. The Hearing Loss Association of America reports that from the moment they first notice changes in their hearing to the moment they want to seek care, people wait an average of seven years. Think of how much one can miss during this time!
If you're wondering what to expect from a hearing test with us, look no further. Our team is excited to meet you on the journey and to help you hear better. Here are a couple of things you can expect at one of our hearing exams.
What are the causes of hearing loss?
A health history
Documenting your medical background as it applies to your hearing is the first aspect of a hearing test. We will ask you about your work and home noise levels and any current or new improvements you've made to your hearing. We may also ask you about medicine you've taken or are currently using -some medications are ototoxic, meaning they can have the unwanted side effect of causing hearing damage.
Any physical injuries may also have implications for your hearing, particularly those affecting the head and neck, and we will ask if you have any history of impact injuries.
Your history of hearing health may also include discussing the role your hearing plays in your life. If you have hearing problems, you and your specialist can consider some ways in which hearing difficulties can affect your lifestyle and health. Knowing more about the environment in which you work and live is one-way hearing professionals and audiologists can help connect you to the hearing solution that suits your specific needs.
The hearing test
Many hearing tests will take place in a quiet, sound-treated environment that will encourage you to concentrate on listening to the sounds we play.
You will put on headphones during the pure-tone test and listen to several sounds played at different volumes and pitches. You will let us know what sounds you can hear. We can decide the softest sound you can hear at each pitch and map your responses to a graph called an audiogram that will precisely show you what sounds you can't understand.
The hearing test is a speech recognition test, and you will be asked to repeat the words or phrases you hear in response. This will test your ability to understand speech in noisy environments.
Once the audiometry test is done, the results will appear on an audiogram. Don't worry if the findings do not immediately mean anything to you; we will be interpreting the results for you.
Each ear represents a different line on the graph. If the graphs or lines look different, the hearing loss is asymmetric. This is more uncommon and indicates that the causes of each ear's loss are distinct, and therefore have to be treated differently.
Symmetrical hearing loss is more common to hearing loss associated with age. It means the hearing loss in both ears is similar. If both lines or graphs appear the same, you are experiencing a symmetrical loss of hearing.
The pitch of a sound is measured in frequency. It flows from low to high frequencies, from left to right. Decibels are the unit used to measure the loudness of sound. On the left side, the decibel loss is expressed vertically on your audiogram. As the number increases, so does the loss of hearing.
The final component of your audiogram to look at is the Word Recognition Score. It is placed in a small box to the side or under the graph of your audiogram. These show the results of your speech recognition test.
To begin the journey to improve your hearing today, please contact Encore Hearing to schedule a complete hearing assessment with one of our hearing health professionals.