hearing centers

What Happens During a Hearing Evaluation?

If you are curious about what happens in hearing centers during a hearing evaluation, the following is a brief article to let you know.

What Is a Hearing Evaluation?

A hearing evaluation test is performed on a patient to gauge their hearing ability and consists of tests done on a regular basis. If you are an adult over the age of 21 years, it is recommended to have your hearing evaluated at least once a year. With about 37.5 million or 15% of all American adults aged over 18 years reporting to have some trouble hearing, it is important to take note of hearing centers that can offer good evaluation.

When to Do a Hearing Evaluation

If you notice someone in your family is having difficulty hearing, it is a good idea to get referrals to hearing centers. In the case of a parent, caretakers or friends may notice the problem first. It could also be noticed by you and other family members at home, during a movie, or other shared activities. In this case, it is recommended that you have their ears evaluated.

What a Hearing Evaluation Entails

In a hearing evaluation, the physician tests for the softest or least audible sound that you can hear in each ear. It is a painless procedure that is performed in a soundproof room. The patient wears headphones or earbuds connected to a device that sends sounds of different pitch and volume to each ear at intervals.

Sounds within the normal human hearing range are played, from whispers which are about 20dB to loud sounds which range from 80-120dB. The pitch of the sound is measured in frequency (Hz). Normally, humans are capable of hearing sounds within the 250Hz-8000Hz frequency band at 25dB or lower.

Other Kinds of Tests

Another test conducted during the evaluation is the word recognition or speech discrimination test, during which the candidate is evaluated by their ability to understand speech with noise in the background.

The final test, which determines if the ear canal is blocked, is the tympanometry test, which focuses on the middle ear and can detect wax or fluid build-up, a perforated eardrum, or even a tumor in the middle ear. In some cases, acoustic reflex testing will be performed to evaluate the cranial nerves and brainstem.

With the results of some or all of these tests, the examination results will provide a comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s ears and inform the physician’s decision. They may prescribe hearing aids or surgery and offer advice on how to take care of your ears. Be sure to visit a hearing center at the first sign of hearing trouble to take the first step in improving your quality of life.