Diagnostic Audiologic Evaluation
If you feel you are experiencing difficulty hearing or are referred for a hearing evaluation, a comprehensive set of audiological tests will be done to evaluate the auditory system.
The evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present and, if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It also may provide insight into the cause of the hearing loss as well as provide guidance for the audiologist in making appropriate treatment recommendations- or referrals to other professionals.
What can I expect during a diagnostic hearing evaluation?
The evaluation will last about an hour with time for discussion with the audiologist to review test results and ask questions.
If the results indicate you need hearing aids, allow for sufficient time to discuss your options.
It is recommended that you bring a family member with you to the evaluation appointment. Most audiologists agree that hearing loss is a family issue. It helps to have another supportive person at the appointment to help you understand the information and recommendations.
Before your appointment, a complete medical history will be completed and the audiologist will want to hear about any concerns you have about your hearing. They will pay special attention to any history regarding exposure to noise, tinnitus and balance problems. Make sure that you take a full list of any medications and supplements you are taking with you to your appointment.
The diagnostic audiologic evaluation is a good chance to establish a relationship with your audiologist. It helps to ask around for recommendations to audiologists in your area and find someone who listens carefully to your concerns. Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions. You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.
Hearing Solutions, PLLC is a provider with most commercial insurance companies and Medicare for diagnostic audiological testing. Please bring your insurance cards to your appointment and we will file file the claim for you.
What tests will be done?
The specific tests done during the evaluation will depend on the patient's age, symptoms and medical history. These various tests will determine the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. The audiologist will also establish if the hearing loss is conductive (middle or outer ear problem) or sensorineural (inner ear problem or an issue with the auditory nerve and central auditory pathways).
At a minimum, a diagnostic audiological evaluation includes otoscopy, immittance testing, pure-tone audiometry, bone conduction audiometry and word recognition assessment.
Pure-tone and bone conduction audiometry
Pure-tone audiometry determines the quietest tones that a person can hear at different frequencies, both low and high. Bone conduction testing is similar to pure-tone, however, a different type of headset is used to provide the audiologist with different information. A bone conduction test will help the audiologist determine whether the loss is conductive in nature or sensorineural.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test is used to confirm the results of a pure-tone test. This test determines the lowest level of sound the patient can clearly identify words or speech. Word recognition testing will determine how well you listen to and repeat words. It may be conducted in quiet or with noise. This gives the audiologist important information as to how the brain is processing the information it hears.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)
In some cases, further testing may be indicated to obtain more specific information about the auditory system. An OAE is a quick, painless, objective test to determine the hair cell function of the inner ear, the cochlea. The patient is not required to give an active response. A small probe is place in the ear and echos are measured from the cochlea. This test is frequently used for newborn hearing screening, tinnitus evaluation, monitoring ototoxic medications or indicated in other cases.
Visual reinforcement audiometry for children
For children, it is important to have a diagnostic hearing evaluation whenever a hearing loss is suspected. It is the first step in identifying hearing loss and developing a treatment plan to improve academic and social success.
Along with the evaluation, you should generally expect to have time to review the results with the audiologist. They can interpret the tests for you, answer your questions, provide you with information and referrals as needed, as well as begin planning for treatment, if indicated.
Audiologists are specialists in hearing and hearing rehabilitation. Never hesitate to ask your audiologist for clarification or further information on anything you do not understand.