A hearing evaluation (or hearing exam) is a comprehensive examination performed by a licensed audiologist or hearing instrument specialist that includes a review of your full case history and several types of hearing tests. It also includes counseling to help you understand and interpret the results. Based on the findings, your provider will make recommendations and prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include hearing instruments.
You may need medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear.
History of active drainage from the ear in the previous 90 days.
History of sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous 90 days.
Acute or chronic dizziness.
Unilateral hearing loss of sudden or recent onset within the previous 90 days.
Audiometric air-bone gap equal to or greater than 15 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz.
Visible evidence of significant cerumen accumulation or a foreign body in the ear canal.\
Pain or discomfort in the ear.
Here are some of the tests you can expect:
Air conduction: During this test, your provider will ask you to listen to tones through head phones to identify what is the faintest tone you can hear at a different pitches.
Pure tone bone conduction: This test uses a small vibrator behind the ear that bypasses any in-ear sound blockage and sends tones directly to the hearing organs of the inner ear.
Speech testing: This will check your ability to understand spoken words in a quiet or noisy environment.
Speech reception: This test will help determine the faintest level at which you can understand spoken words.
The goal of the hearing evaluation is to give your provider a complete picture of your unique hearing loss profile. It will determine whether your hearing loss is a result of problems in the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, or a combination. With this knowledge, your provider can determine the appropriate treatment for you.
Although a hearing screening can alert you to potential hearing problems, a full hearing evaluation performed by a licensed provider is important to fully understand and address your hearing loss effectively.