Hearing tests are carried out but audiologists and should a person think that they are losing their hearing then they should try to get tested as early as possible. They will diagnose any problems you may have and aim to accurately pinpoint the causes. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have a better understanding of the different tests that you can expect at a visit to an audiologist.
The first thing an audiologist will do is take a complete medical history. The audiologist will also want to know about the type of work you have done and what sounds you have been exposed to at work. Its important to let the audiologist know about any past injuries or illnesses you may have had and they will ask you to provide them with details of any.
Some hearing problems can be genetic so the audiologist is likely to ask questions concerning other family members and their hearing levels. The most common form of physical examination during a hearing test is when the audiologist uses otoscope to look inside your ears. The otoscope allows them to see the inner ear so they can check the patient's eardrum for any visible signs of abnormalities.
An audiogram will more than likely be carried out using specialist equipment in a sound proofed room. You enter the room and are given headphones to wear. The patients hearing is tested by he audiologist make a record of the lowest of a group of tones the patient is able to hear in both ears. Most people will recall a similar test that they had done when the first started school. The audiologist will perform an examination based on the same principles but the equipment they used is likely to be more advanced.
A tympanometry may also be carried out which is when the audiologist will place a pressure probe in the middle ear. The pressure probe gently increases and decreases the air pressure whilst a tone is played. The purpose of tympanometry is to determine whether fluid or other disorders of the middle ear are contributing to the hearing loss.
The amount of hearing loss can also be established using a tuning fork. After it is struck the tuning fork makes the middle ear vibrate if placed near to the patient's ear. The tuning fork is then placed against the bone located behind the ear, causing vibrations to be sent to the inner ear. The patient must then identify which of the two tones was louder. This test helps the audiologist determine range of hearing and pinpoint the precise location of the hearing loss.
An audiologist can also perform a 'site of lesion' test which can establish where any hearing loss is caused. It compares the hearing in each ear and it can detect the ability of the patient to hear when other noise is detected. The equipment for an audiogram will be used in a slightly different way for a site of lesion test to gather a different range of results.
Other medical tests may be recommended by the audiologist to determine whether any other medical conditions may be causing the hearing loss. One such test might be an x-ray of the inner ear and the patient's brain to get a closer look at the nerves present.
The audiologist can get an accurate diagnosis of the problem and recommend effective treatments by combining a series of different tests. More successful treatments have been found due to the variety of different hearing tests and many more people now go on to achieve better hearing and a higher quality of life.
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