Hearing assessments should not feel intimidating! For some people, the idea of being in a doctor’s office can be scary when they don’t know what to expect. We are here to walk you through what a standard hearing assessment looks like, so you feel confident walking into your appointment!
What is a hearing assessment?
A hearing assessment is a sound-based method of determining what degree of hearing loss a person is experiencing, or if they have any. Because hearing loss is a complex medical condition, the standard hearing assessment will test various things such as tone, pitch, and the ability to hear with background noise. This way the provider will be able to tell which area of hearing you are struggling with rather than just a general level of hearing loss. The assessment also tests both ears so if one ear is suffering from a higher level of hearing loss than the other, the provider will be able to see that in the results. Though there is an online hearing assessment available, visiting an office will provide you with a place to get answers to any questions you may have about hearing loss and treatments.
What are the different parts of the assessment?
A standard hearing assessment is broken up into multiple parts designed to test different aspects of hearing. The appointment will start with the hearing care provider looking at your ears to see if they notice anything right away that could be impacting your hearing, such as earwax buildup. They will also look for things such as inflammation, excess fluids, and any damage to your eardrum. After this, you will move into the sound booth for the audio tests.
Volume level is the first part of the assessment that takes place in the sound booth. In this part of the assessment, different words will come through the headset and the participant is asked to repeat them back to the provider. As this section progresses, the volume level will decrease. This portion of the assessment is to see at what volume level you begin to have difficulty hearing and when you’re unable to hear anything coming through the speakers. Because one of the most common signs of hearing loss is the need to turn up the volume louder than usual, this addresses that concern.
The next part of the hearing assessment looks at tone and pitch. During this section of the assessment, sounds will be played through the headset that tests how well participants can hear different tones and pitches at different volumes. People who have hearing loss often struggle to hear children’s and women’s voices because they are often higher in pitch than a man’s. This is not always the case, but it can be an indicator of hearing loss.
The final part of the hearing assessment tests how well a person can hear while there is background noise present. This simulates having a conversation with someone while in a restaurant, being in a public setting, or even while the television is playing at home. As this section progresses, the volume level of the background noise increases while the volume level of the person speaking to you remains the same. If you’re suffering from hearing loss, it can be difficult to understand someone in a public setting when there is a lot of activity going on. This part of the assessment allows the hearing health provider to see how loud the noise around you can be until it becomes difficult or impossible to understand the person you’re talking to.
Why are hearing assessments important and how often should I get one?
Hearing assessments are important to your health because it allows hearing care providers to track your hearing health. Getting an assessment before you believe you are experiencing hearing loss is important because it provides a benchmark to where your hearing levels are at. If hearing loss begins to occur, your provider will have data to compare it to. It is recommended to come in for a hearing assessment once a year so any changes in your hearing health can be noticed and monitored. Some medical conditions such as diabetes may present the need for more frequent hearing assessments. Your body is unique and so is the way it reacts to outside stimuli. The best way to find out what your body’s needs are is to get your hearing assessed today!