Hearing is an essential part of our every day lives, but a lot of people take it for granted and underestimate the importance of good hearing, as well as the consequences of hearing loss. Hearing connects us to the world, helps us communicate with others, and helps us relax. However, there are many people in the world that suffer from hearing loss due to old age, allergies, the increasing noise pollution in our environment, and many other factors.
You need to understand that hearing loss is something that can affect anyone. Sometimes people don’t even notice that they have an issue with their hearing because hearing loss often happens gradually. Considering that hearing lost is the most common chronic condition in adults, it is important to show some interest about your hearing health, get educated, and of course, get a hearing test.
A hearing test is performed in order to determine whether or not a person suffers from a hearing loss, how severe it is, and what is the best treatment that should be applied. Hearing tests are painless, very accurate and they are performed by professional audiologists. First, the audiologist will go through your family and medical history since hearing loss can be inherited or it might be caused by a previous illness.
The hearing test itself is usually performed in a quiet room with special headphones connected to an audiometer. Once in the booth, the patient will be asked to listen to various tones and the audiologist will keep track of the sounds that the patient is having trouble hearing. This part of hearing tests is know as pure-tone audiometry and it will help the audiologist determine whether or not a particular frequency or pitch is problematic for the patient.
Another way to test the patient’s hearing ability is speech audiometry which uses live or recorded speech instead of pure tones. This is used to evaluate the threshold for speech sounds of the patients and how well they can understand and repeat the words above the threshold.
The audiologist may also test the person’s acoustic reflexes and tympanometry. This is done with a soft plug that generates noises and changes pressure to determine how the eardrum is moving and how responsive the middle ear muscles are.
After the test is finished, the results are shown on a graph called an audiogram. This is used to record all the measurements and the different volumes and frequencies that the patient is able to hear and it will determine the type of hearing loss, if any at all. The audiologist usually talks the patient through the results and explains what it means and what kind of treatment might be necessary.