How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed?
Thank you, Emmalyn Loeffler, AuD, for this week’s blog post!
Have you experienced any of the common symptoms of hearing loss? These symptoms often differ from person to person and situation to situation, but typically include the following:
- Speech and other sounds seem “muffled”
- Difficulty understanding words in groups of people or in the presence of background noise
- Trouble hearing specific sounds (e.g., consonants)
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves or to speak more slowly, or louder
- Needing to turn up the volume on the radio or television
- Withdrawal from participation in conversations or from social situations entirely
When these symptoms arise it is time to consider getting a hearing evaluation. The hearing evaluation is conducted by a trained hearing care professional like an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser. Hearing care professionals work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, ENT doctor’s offices, or in private practices.
What to expect during a hearing evaluation
A hearing evaluation will include a thorough look into your hearing history to evaluate if hearing loss is present, and the degree and nature of the loss. The hearing care professional will start by taking a complete case history, which is necessary to determine the situations in which you notice hearing problems are present. You will discuss your medical history to see if there are reasons to suspect hearing loss may be due to a medical condition or particular medication. You will also be asked about your genetic history to determine if your parents or siblings have or had hearing loss.
After the history is obtained, you will be asked to participate in a hearing evaluation. The first part of the hearing evaluation is otoscopy. The hearing care professional will take in a look in your ear canals to be sure they are free of wax or other debris, which can cause or contribute to hearing loss. During the next phase of assessment, you will be asked to listen to and repeat some words, and also to listen to some beeps. These are used to determine to what degree you can hear soft speech. It is also necessary to listen to beeps at various frequencies to find out which pitches are most impacted by your hearing loss.
Next steps if you have hearing loss
The hearing care professional will look at the results from all tests and measurements to determine if you have hearing loss, as well as the nature and degree of hearing difficulty. Hearing loss treatment varies depending on the nature of the hearing loss. At times, treating hearing loss is a simple as removing wax from ear canals. Some people have fluid in their middle ear or other medical types of hearing loss that can be treated by a physician. Another example of hearing loss treatment is wearing hearing aids.
The first step to treating hearing loss is determining if it is present. If you’ve noticed some of the symptoms listed above, perhaps it’s time for a professional evaluation. If you need help finding a hearing care professional in your area, simply click on our convenient Locator tool and we will help you find one.
Rules for Commenting: Please limit your comments to the blog topic at hand. If you need to contact us about a product, technical issue or other experience you’ve had, use the contact form. We reserve the right to delete off-topic, abusive language, spam, or other comments deemed inappropriate. Have fun!