Serving Vancouver WA And The Surrounding Areas
A hearing test is the first step in diagnosing a patient’s hearing loss. This non-invasive examination is quick and accurate, and is often completed inside of 30-45 minutes.
What to Expect During Your Hearing Test
When you arrive for your hearing consultation, you’ll start with providing the front office staff with a valid ID and any insurance information that you’d like us to check, so we can better understand your hearing coverage. Dr. Lawson will need to know a bit more about your hearing history, so you’ll be asked questions about whether or not you’ve ever had surgery on either of your ears, and if you experience tinnitus, among other simple questions. He will also need to know about your occupation, or if you’re retired, what you did before that. This information helps him understand what your daily life is like. Since your treatment will be tailored to your specific needs, it’s best to provide as much information as possible.
Next, Dr. Lawson will examine your ears with an otoscope. (You may be familiar with this device from your general practitioner’s office!) It allows the provider to see inside your ear canal, all the way to your eardrum. This step is important for determining if there are any physical blockages (such as a wax impaction or a foreign object) in your ear, or damage to your eardrum that may be increasing the degree of hearing loss you’re experiencing.
Once the inspection is complete, your hearing test will begin, your hearing test may involve a series of individualized tests such as a diagnostic auditory evaluation using soundproof headphones, a tympanometry test, or an acoustic reflex threshold test.
Hearing Test Results
The results of your tests will be displayed as an audiogram, a chart that allows for the visualization of your hearing ability. It will be explained to you at the time, but the audiogram will graphically display your receptivity to loudness at different points along the frequency spectrum, as well as brain response. Your speech recognition will be recorded as a percentage.
You’ll go over your audiogram with the doctor and he will explain what’s going on with your ears. Your test results may come back “normal,” meaning you have no hearing loss, or show that you have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears. The doctor will explain the available treatment options for you, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Types of Hearing Tests
Depending on what Dr. Lawson determines from your consultation, he may administer up to three different hearing tests. Each of which is painless and non-invasive.
1. Diagnostic Auditory Evaluation
The first part of the hearing test requires you to sit in a soundproof booth and wear a pair of special headphones. Dr. Lawson will first perform “pure tone audiometry,” where he will send a series of tones of varied pitch and loudness through the headphones, and you’ll be instructed to push a button when you can hear the tone. He will also perform “speech audiometry,” which is a similar process, but with human speech instead of tones.
Tympanometry allows Dr. Lawson to see the state of your eardrum and parts of your middle ear, the hollow cavity where sound transferred by the eardrum is prepared to be transferred again to the liquid inside the cochlea. The parts assessed include the ossicles (three tiny bones) and the auditory tubes (formerly called Eustachian tubes). The doctor will use a tympanometer for this test, which alters the pressure inside your ear for a few seconds while he takes measurements. This test is considered to be the most uncomfortable out of the three, with the only awkward feeling being some pressure in the ear. This process is still quite painless.
3. Acoustic Reflex Thresholds
This test requires that an air-tight seal be created in your ear before a series of beeps is played. The beeps will get progressively louder while the doctor measures the contraction of your stapedius muscle. The stapedius muscle is the smallest muscle in the human body, and connects to the stapes (the third of the three tiny bones, or ossicles, in the middle ear). The stapedius muscle protects your ear from loud sounds by contracting and thus pulling the stapes into position to reduce the amount of sound that is allowed to enter the cochlea. The test is painless and will only take a few seconds per ear.
Schedule a Hearing Test
The hearing test is how we determine the type and severity of a person’s hearing loss. If you’ve scheduled an appointment at Evergreen Audiology, congratulations! You’re about to take the first step toward greatly improving your quality of life. Our friendly crew will help you through all the necessary steps in our comfortable, homey office environment.Back to Hearing Center Services