Hearing Tests

Hearing impairment affects more than just your ability to hear — it affects your quality of life. Allegany Hearing & Balance Center stresses the importance of a complete, accurate, and timely hearing test. The hearing evaluation is just the beginning of your treatment, and it’s essential to starting your unique care plan in motion and taking action on your hearing loss. Your in-depth hearing evaluation will help us craft a treatment plan that renews your ability to hear, allowing you to truly hear your best and live life your best on your terms.

 

Step One: The Interview

The interview process helps our practice determine the extent of your hearing impairment and how it affects your daily life. Some typical questions you will be asked are:

  • Has anyone else in your family had hearing problems?
  • Have you had any injuries that might have affected your hearing?
  • Do you have any other medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid disease?
  • Have you taken any medications that might have contributed to hearing impairment?
  • Have you been exposed to loud noises in your workplace or while participating in leisure activities?

 

Step Two: The Examination

Our hearing care providers will examine your ears and figure out whether the hearing difficulty you are experiencing could be caused by an obstruction like ear wax, or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. We use a special instrument called an otoscope or video otoscope to inspect your outer ear.
 

Step Three: Hearing Tests

Next we’ll need to figure out the type of your hearing loss. We typically include the following:

  • A complete audiological evaluation to obtain hearing thresholds
  • A speech assessment to measure how well you hear and understand ordinary conversation both in quiet and in noise
  • A middle-ear evaluation

Your results will be documented on an audiogram, a graph showing the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss. The audiogram shows your hearing loss by frequency (pitch) and loudness (volume). Frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz), and the loudness or intensity is measured in decibels (dB). We will help determine whether you have trouble hearing low or high pitches and what that means for you moving forward.
 

Step Four: Treatment Options

Hearing Aids
We will work with you to match your lifestyle and communication needs with the most appropriate advanced technology, specifically designed to treat your unique hearing loss. The basic components of these instruments include microphones, an amplifier, a receiver, and tiny computer processors. The exceptional effectiveness of your devices is the result of a powerful combination of our professional expertise, and computer software and hardware.

Surgery & Implants
When appropriate, you will be referred to an ENT who may be able to surgically or medically correct your hearing loss. If you are no longer a hearing aid candidate, you may benefit from a device that can be implanted in your ear. This device is surgically inserted into the ear to improve hearing, facilitate lip-reading, and make it easier to distinguish certain sounds. Surgical implants include:

  • Cochlear implants
  • Middle-ear implants
  • Bone-anchored hearing aids
  • Auditory brainstem implants

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is hearing tested in newborns?
Before your child leaves the hospital, they’re given an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test. When sleeping, an earphone and microphone are placed in the ear, sounds are played, and the ear’s response is measured. If the newborn does not have a hearing impairment, an echo is reflected back into the ear canal being measured by the microphone. When a baby does have a hearing loss, no echo can be measured on the OAE test. Please see our section about child hearing loss for more information on hearing impairment and preventive measures for all ages.
How long does a hearing test take?
Approximately 20 minutes.
How often should I get my hearing tested?
This depends on lifestyle as well as age. If you are exposed to loud noises, we recommend an annual hearing test, whether there are signs of hearing loss or not. If you are over 50, we also recommend you get a baseline test, even if you have no symptoms of hearing loss. If you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of hearing loss, please call today to schedule an appointment. Signs include but are not limited to:
• Feeling that people mumble
• Having to turn up the volume on your television, telephone, or personal listening devices
• Trouble following conversations in in noisy places (concerts, restaurants)