Hearing loss is a very common condition, and a dangerous one to leave undiagnosed. From oven timers to approaching cars, being unable to hear audio cues increases the risk of most every-day activities. If you or a loved one has been having a hard time hearing or missing important audible events, you might want to check for casual or permanent hearing loss. Your doctor can work with specialists such as ENTs or audiologist to diagnose hearing loss in a number of ways. An audiologist’s role is to perform several hearing tests before confirming and prescribing a solution method.
Ear, Nose, Throat Exam
Sometimes, hearing loss can be temporary and causal rather than a sign of permanent damage or deterioration. Your doctor (and combination of an audiologist or ENT) will check your ears, nose, and throat to determine if earwax, fluid behind the ear drum or clogged sinuses are the cause of your hearing difficulties, along with possible structural causes. If they find that it’s a simple ENT issue, expect to be prescribed industrial strength decongestants or special drops to help melt and remove your ear wax.
General Screening and Tuning Forks
These are simple audio tests that can be performed anywhere. General screening mostly consists of covering one ear while the doctor speaks, then covering the other to determine a difference. According to the Mayo Clinic, the tuning fork tests help to determine if the loss is “caused by damage to the vibrating parts of your middle ear (including your eardrum), damage to sensors or nerves of your inner ear, or damage to both”.
Pure tone audiometry (PTA) tests is the most common type of test used for evaluation of hearing loss. For this test, you wear a pair of headphones and the audiometer plays a series of sounds in each ear individually. You respond whether you heard a sound by pressing a button. The sounds are played at varying frequencies and decibels and can reveal how well you hear from each ear and what level of hearing loss you suffer and at what frequency.
A bone conduction test is often carried out as part of a routine pure tone audiometry (PTA) test in adults. A bone conduction test involves placing a vibrating probe against the mastoid bone behind the ear. It tests how well sounds transmitted through the bone are heard. The bone conduction test is a far more sophisticated version of the tuning fork test, and when used together with PTA, it can help determine whether hearing loss comes from the outer and middle ear, the inner ear, or both.
Dealing with the Diagnosis
If you or your loved one are diagnosed with hearing loss, this is by no means the end of your journey! Modern technology has transformed hearing assistance technology. There is a wide selection of hearing aid options for those with varying degrees of hearing loss. From rechargeable hearing aids (in every imaginable colour) to hearing-loss-friendly headphones, there are hundreds of products available for you to choose from.
The Hearing Care Shop
Our team is made up of passionate advocates and professionals specialised in bringing hearing aids and peace of mind to people suffering from hearing loss. If you’re not sure what you want, our in-house audiologist will help guide you toward the right hearing aids and accessories for your personal needs. You don’t have to go through hearing loss alone.
Contact us today for more advice on diagnosing, treating, and overcoming your hearing loss.