Who Should Get a Hearing Test
More often than not, hearing loss comes on so incredibly subtly and gradually, it is impossible for someone to realize that it is even happening. It is impossible to know an exact number, but it is commonly agreed that around 14% of the U.S. population aged 18 and above lives with some degree of detectable hearing loss. This represents about 45 million people. And tragically, more than 80% of these people endure their condition without seeking appropriate treatment. There are all kinds of reasons that explain this, but not one of them can justify it.
Study after study proves time and again that untreated hearing loss has major impacts on your overall health. This is why it is vital that you keep up with annual hearing tests. There is no other method of detecting hearing loss that is even comparable in its effectiveness. And there is no solution to hearing loss as impactful as catching it as early as possible, before its consequences are allowed to multiply.
A hearing test performed by a trained professional will determine both the severity of your hearing loss and the specific type of hearing loss that it is. Together these facts will guide the most effective course to mitigate its impacts.
Hearing Tests are recommended for anyone who suspects they may be experiencing any signs of trouble hearing, and anyone demographically at risk. These demographics include everyone aged 60 and above or anyone that works in high-risk industries such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, or live entertainment.
Here we will explain the process of the exam itself to show just how simple and painless they are.
When You Arrive For Your Test
First you will fill out a questionnaire about the history of your hearing health. This is to catch any red flags in your family, medical or personal history, such as exposure to potentially dangerous volumes. The specialist will then ask about the symptoms you might be experiencing, some of which you are not even likely to connect as relevant to your hearing. After this interview stage, the exam begins.
The Parts of The Test
The exam will take place in a near-silent room, specially treated to block out background noises that could skew the results. You will wear headphones attached to an audiometer. This is the instrument that conducts the test itself.
The test begins with the pure-tone audiometry. You listen for tones at different pitches and volumes and answer questions about what you hear. This section of the test identifies the quietest volume at which you can still make out particular frequencies.
The next section is speech audiometry, in which you will listen to recorded speech. This part of the exam identifies the softest volumes at which you can understand speech. The volume incrementally raises and you are asked to repeat the phrases that you hear. This measures the accuracy of different thresholds of your hearing.
Often similar tests will then measure how well you can focus when dealing with distracting background noise. Public spaces are frequently the most common complaint of those with hearing loss, so these tests assess your real-world abilities.
A tympanometry test will sometimes be needed to gauge the reflexes of your eardrum and middle ear. This may help determine the treatment option that best suits you. Similarly, you might be tested for “hidden” hearing loss. Hidden hearing loss refers to hearing loss that is not a result of damage to your ear, but your brain.
Making Sense of Your Results
The results of your test will be shown to you on an audiogram. This is a graph that charts your hearing at various frequencies. The vertical axis represents the volumes and the horizontal axis represents the frequencies. These are measured in decibels (dB). Both of your ears will have their own results, and these are equally likely to be similar to each other or not.
Hearing loss is categorized according to the following measurements.
—0-25 bB HL (hearing loss) = normal
—26-40 dB HL = mild
—41-70 dB HL = moderate
—71-90 dB HL = severe
—More than 91 dB HL = profound
Now your hearing health professional can make informed decisions about what treatment options will work best for your unique needs. Technology evolves steadily and even the most basic hearing aids nowadays help more than the best hearing aids of the past. There are options perfect for your lifestyle and budget.
There is no good excuse to not make an appointment with one of our specialists today. There is no other way to objectively gauge what exactly will help guarantee that you can enjoy the greatest quality of life that you can.