What to Expect During a Hearing Test
When it comes to health, most of us know how important it is to get check-ups. By seeing a doctor on a regular basis, we find out about problems we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
The same goes for hearing, since hearing loss is often gradual and difficult to detect. Plus, with a third of people between the ages of 65 and 74 experiencing some kind of hearing loss, this is especially important as we age. Regardless of whether or not you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, hearing tests are an important part of staying well.
But just like visits to the doctor, hearing tests can feel daunting if we don’t know what to expect. With a little bit of prior information about the steps — and why each one is important — you can put your anxious mind at ease and make the best of your exam.
Step One: Getting to Know You
Small talk isn’t exactly something you’d expect at a hearing test, but it turns out that a little bit of introductory chit-chat can tell your hearing specialist a lot about you. Hearing specialists need to establish an understanding of your history and any possible medical issues you might have in order to know if and why you’re suffering from hearing loss.
This step also allows your hearing specialist to connect the dots between your past experiences and your current hearing difficulties. This can give them the clues they need to find out what might have caused your hearing loss in the first place.
Step Two: The Hear and Now
There are lots of sound environments we come across on a daily basis, and the way that we hear them — or don’t hear them — can help a hearing specialist find the best solutions to unique hearing difficulties.
Perhaps you have a hard time in busy restaurants, and can’t focus when many people are talking at the same time. Or maybe you strain to hear the voices of women and children. Talking about the sounds or environments that are the most difficult for you not only gives your hearing specialist the information they need, but can also help you recognize your own unique struggles in hearing. After all, sometimes it only takes a few guiding questions to help us notice what we couldn’t before.
Step Three: Down to Business
After plenty of chatting, it’s finally time to start listening. This part of the test uses what is called an audiogram. An audiogram is a graph that measures your ability to hear two things: pitch, or frequency, and intensity. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) and is the reason why a chirping bird and a bass drum sound different. Intensity refers to how loud a sound is, and is measured in decibels (dB).
A piece of test equipment called an audiometer produces a series of sounds in varying pitch and intensity, most commonly over a set of headphones. While listening, you respond to the sounds that you hear usually by tapping a button. These results are recorded onto your own audiogram, which tells your hearing specialist what kinds of frequencies and volume levels you have trouble with.
With this detailed information, your hearing specialist can determine what hearing solutions are right for you, and can even track hearing loss over a period of time using a series of audiograms.
Step Four: Finding a Solution
If your hearing specialist detects hearing loss based on your audiogram, it’s time to find out what kinds of hearing solutions are right for you. Since each person is unique — and has different needs, financial situations and desires for their own hearing experience — your hearing specialist will want to talk to you about your options.
There’s an incredible amount of choice among hearing aids and assistive listening devices. The range of technologies and pricing makes finding a hearing solution for anyone just a matter of knowing the options. Talking to your hearing specialist — who is, no doubt, an expert on the subject — can help you determine what wearing styles, technologies, and price ranges are best for you.
Contact Emery Hearing Centers of Sun City West and Mesa, Arizona to schedule your next hearing test!