When you come in to see one of our physicians for your ears or for hearing, more than likely they will send you to Audiology to have your hearing tested. What exactly will the Audiologist do to test your hearing?
There are different tests that can be performed to evaluate your hearing health. One simple test that examines the condition of your eardrum and the three middle ear bones is called a tympanogram.
This test is primarily used by the physicians to determine if there are middle ear infections or a hole in your ear drum. During a tympanogram an audiologist will put a small plastic probe into your ear canal; you will feel a little bit of air pressure.
A tone is generated by the tip going into the ear canal. The sound strikes the tympanic membrane (ear drum) causing it to vibrate.
Many people will be sent to Audiology for a basic hearing evaluation. The audiologist will have the patient enter a soundproof booth.
You will be asked to sit on a chair and wear either headphones or insert ear phones for the tests. There are three parts to the actual hearing test.
First, a speech reception threshold (SRT) is obtained which measures the lowest level within which you can detect speech.
Using your SRT score, the audiologist will then ask you to repeat a list of words, delivered at a comfortable listening level; the number of words correctly repeated make up your speech discrimination score.
This score is used by the audiologist to assess the patient’s ability to identify and repeat words which are presented at a level above their threshold and is also used by the physicians to rule out any retro cochlear abnormalities.
Next, the audiologist will, through the earphones, create a series of tones ranging in different frequencies or pitches. You will be asked to reply aloud – or through a push button – when you hear the tones.
Using your responses, the audiologist can determine the softest frequency level at which you hear. Lastly, the audiologist will put a bone oscillator behind your ear on your mastoid bone.
Again you will let us know when you hear the tones. At the end of your hearing test, the audiologist will be able to determine the type, location, and degree of hearing loss presented.
The physicians will review the results with you to determine if medication, surgery, or hearing amplification is recommended.