Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation
Difficulty hearing can come from a variety of health issues. If you or your child has been referred for a diagnostic Audiological evaluation, it means that hearing loss needs to be ruled out or further examination is needed. Someone may need a diagnostic hearing evaluation if you do not pass an initial hearing screening, or you make a complaint of decreased hearing or tinnitus to your primary care physician.
The evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present, and if so, the severity and type of hearing loss. Often it provides insight to the cause of the hearing loss, as well as guidance for the Audiologist or ENT in making appropriate treatment recommendations.
What tests should I expect?
Audiological testing is dependent on patient age. The goal of our testing is to find out the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. Otoscopic examination is initially done to rule out cerumen (ear wax) or outer ear issues.
Audiological testing requires you to sit in an enclosed room called a booth. Different frequencies are tested that give the Audiologist information about the health of your hearing and the types of sounds you can and cannot hear. Insert buds or headphones will be used to find the frequencies you can hear. Finally, speech testing gives information on reliability as well as your auditory processing ability. After the diagnostic hearing test, the Audiologist will be able to determine if your hearing loss is conductive (coming from the middle ear or outer ear) or sensorineural (inner ear problems or central processing difficulties).
Infants or young children may require additional testing. Play Audiometry or Visual Reinforcement Audiometry may be needed. Again, the goal is to obtain as much information as possible to provide you with answers to your hearing concern.
Middle ear testing may also be conducted, and include tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing. Both of these tests rule out ear drum and middle ear disorders. All results are reviewed by the Audiologist and explained to you at the time of your visit, giving you a chance to ask questions. If necessary, and to serve your hearing health care needs, the Audiologist may refer you to our ENT Doctors. Audiological testing lasts approximately 30 minutes.
If a medical issue is discovered during your hearing evaluation, the Audiologist will refer you to Dr. Noel. Often, you will see our ENT doctors first, and in the course of discussion a hearing evaluation may be needed to help with his diagnosis. If the determination is made that your hearing cannot be helped by medication, surgery, or further testing, then a hearing device may be your best treatment option.