So What Happens During a Hearing Test Anyway?
When you arrive for your exam, you will be greeted by the front office staff and welcomed. They are only going to verify name, address, and insurance information printed on your intake form. You won’t be asked to fill out multiple pages of forms. You will also receive a copy of a Notice of Privacy.
During your exam, the audiologist will ask questions about your hearing and speech understanding difficulties. You’ll help us discover the specific environments where you experience difficulty hearing and understanding speech.
Next, the audiologist will do an ear exam. This instrument is used to see the ear canal and the ear drum and whether or not there is ear wax obstructing the canal. Sometimes the audiologist will have a video otoscope so you can see inside your ear as well.
Your first test will be done with earphones to determine how well you hear soft sounds. This is conducted in a sound treated booth to reduce background noise. The audiologist will place headphones connected to an audiometer over your ears. The audiometer transmits a series of tones at different volumes into your ears to determine the exact point or “threshold” at which you can hear the sound. When you hear the sound, you will be asked to say “yes” or raise your hand.
Speech testing follows the tone test. You’ll listen to one and two syllable words at different volumes levels and then repeat them. This will determine the level you can detect and understand speech in quiet. Many listeners have little difficulty in quiet. If you hearing problem deals with background noise, your next text will be more like an everyday listening task. You’ll repeat sentences with background noise present. This is a more realistic test because we live in a noisy world.
By using tests with background noise, you’ll know how your speech understanding abilities compare with normal listeners and how you compare with other listeners who took the test. This testing also provides a guide to how much hearing aids will help speech understanding and whether you’ll be a consistent hearing aid user. You will have all the best information to make your decision.