A Diagnostic Hearing Assesment is the first step towards better hearing health. Our clinical staff will provide you with a specialized assessment of your entire hearing system – from the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear, all the way up to the brain. This includes a case history, otoscopy, immittance audiometry and middle ear analysis, otoacoustic emissions, pure tone audiometry, and speech audiometry.
Following the assessment, all results and recommendations will be discussed so that you, your family, and your other healthcare providers can make informed decisions about your hearing healthcare.
The Hearing Test
Duration: 1-1½ hours
The assessment begins with an in-depth questionnaire to give our clinicians information pertaining to your hearing health, noise history, and medical history. An accurate case history is essential for accurate diagnosis of any hearing or medical disorder.
The assessment continues with a thorough inspection of the external/outer ear. Your hearing healthcare provider will inspect the external auditory meatus (ear canal) and tympanic membrane (ear drum) using an otoscope. They will be looking for any blockages (e.g. cerumen or “ear wax”), as well as any abnormalities of the tympanic membrane (e.g. a perforation or “hole” in the ear drum) and ear canal.
Immittance Audiometry and Middle Ear Analysis
Your hearing healthcare provider will then complete an analysis of your middle ear system (i.e. we want to know how much your ear drum and the middle ear bones are moving). Certain hearing losses are due to a very “loose” or “stiff” middle ear system that affects the way sounds are transmitted to your inner ear. Immittance audiometry also sometimes includes a test of your stapedial reflex (a contraction of the smallest striated muscle in the human body), which helps us determine the status of various nerves in your brain.
Next, we will test the outer hair cell function in your inner ear (i.e. otoacoustic emissions). Outer hair cells are one of the most common parts of the hearing system to get damaged. This test will give us insight into their mobility and function and help us make a proper diagnosis. Interesting Fact: this is one of the tests often used to screen a newborn’s hearing – it can be done even when you are sleeping!
Pure tone Audiometry
This is the part of a hearing assessment that people tend to remember the most. Various earphones and headpieces will be placed on or around your ears while you are seated in a sound treated booth. You will then listen to a series of beeps (or “tones”) at various pitches (or “frequencies”). This will help us determine the softest volume you can hear at various pitches – or more technically, this helps us determine how much sound pressure is required at various frequencies to stimulate your auditory cortex so that you “hear.” Pure tone audiometry helps us diagnosis the severity and location of a hearing loss and is one of the primary tests used to calculate prescriptions for hearing aids.
This is similar to pure tone audiometry except instead of listening to beeps/tones you listen to speech and repeat various words and/or phrases. These tests help us determine the accuracy of various other tests, as well as help us determine how well your entire hearing system works together. These tests are routinely carried out in quiet and in noise.
Putting It All Together
All of these tests are what we call a comprehensive hearing test battery. No single test on its own gives us the whole picture. Think about each test as a piece of a puzzle – with just a single piece it is not possible to know what you are looking at. But with many pieces of the puzzle a picture starts to form. As we look at all of these tests together we get a picture of your hearing system. We can determine what parts are damaged and what parts are working well. Without a complete picture it is not possible for our hearing healthcare providers to make an accurate diagnosis or recommend treatment options (e.g. hearing aids, surgery, family physician referral, ENT referral, etc.).
It is for this reason that we recommend you visit the clinical hearing healthcare providers at Acoustic Audiology in Lloydminster for a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation. Our clinic is home to Lloydminster’s only Clinical Audiologist, Terry Sokalofsky, MSc, R.Aud, Aud(C). He oversees all patient care and ensures that you and your loved ones are receiving the highest standard of hearing healthcare available.
Recommendations and Treatment Options
Following a comprehensive hearing test, our hearing healthcare specialists will provide you with recommendations for treatment and follow-up. Some of the most common treatment recommendations may include:
- Prescribe hearing aids (for a trial period)
- Referral to your Family Physician (i.e. your family doctor)
- Referral to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist (ENT)
- Referral to a Neuro-Otologist
- Referral for Bone Anchored Hearing Aid Candidacy
- Referral for Cochlear Implant Candidacy
- Tinnitus Treatment & Management
- Communication Strategies Training
- Consistent use of Hearing Protection Devices
- Assistive Listening Devices