Comprehensive Hearing Consultations
Comprehensive Hearing Consultations Lead to Personalized Care
According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is the third most common physical health condition in the US. 1 in 8 Americans experience some form of hearing loss, a number expected to double over the next 30 years. Although most individuals make regular dental check-ups, eye exams, blood pressure checks, and annual physicals a high priority, they tend to put off hearing tests.
Millions of people continue to go about their daily routine with an undiagnosed hearing loss that continues to deteriorate because they are unaware of the slow development of hearing loss. A comprehensive hearing consultation provides critical information about the severity of your hearing loss while serving as a gateway to receiving the appropriate treatment for your unique condition.
What Tests Are Included in a Comprehensive Hearing Consultation?
There are various types of tests used to evaluate your hearing. Each of these non-invasive tests plays a specific role in identifying the cause and proper solution to target your specific condition.
Bone Conduction Testing
Speech Recognition Testing
Acoustic Reflex or Tympanometry Testing
Certain unique cases require additional tests to better identify the cause of your hearing loss. Your audiologist might call for an Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) test to assess the function of the cochlea. With normal or near-normal hearing, OAEs are present, but their absence is an indicator of cochlear issues.
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What Will Happen During Your Hearing Consultation?
You might be avoiding a hearing test because you don’t know exactly what is going to happen. Rest assured knowing that hearing tests are non-intrusive, quick, and easy. They take about 30 minutes to complete and you receive instant results upon completion. Your hearing consultation includes four parts.
Besides our interest in getting to know our patients, your initial consultation with your audiologist will provide a foundation for diagnosing and treating your condition. Our conversation will include questions related to your family history, medications you take, your occupation, hobbies, and common activities you enjoy. I will respond to your questions and concerns about your hearing and what you expect to gain from better hearing. All of the understanding obtained during this conversation helps inform me of various environmental, genetic, medical, and lifestyle activities contributing to your condition. It is helpful to bring along someone who is well acquainted with your condition to fill in details you might forget.
Physical Examination of Your Ears
I will transition from the conversation to a physical examination of your ears using an otoscope, which is a magnifying glass with a tapered tip and a tiny light at the tip. With the otoscope, I can see if there is any inflammation caused by an infection and identify growths or tumors in the ear canal. These obstructions as well as wax, bugs, and other foreign objects can reduce the capacity of your ears to conduct sound to the middle and inner ear.
After the physical examination of your ears, we’ll move on to the diagnostic tests already discussed. I will seat you in a soundproof booth or room and fit you with a set of headphones to start the first of the series of tests, including:
- Pure-tone test
- Bone conduction test
- Speech recognition test
- Acoustic-reflex test
If necessary, I will call for further testing to further isolate the cause of your hearing impairment or hearing loss.
Discussion of Results
Unlike many diagnostic tests, you don’t have to wait for the results. We will be able to discuss them with you as soon as testing is finished. During this time, you will learn the type and extent of your hearing loss as well as the solutions available for treating your condition. Although hearing aids are among the treatment options, medications, minor outpatient procedures, tinnitus management, changes to your prescription medications, and/or a referral to another specialist for a different type of treatment are all possible solutions to address your hearing challenges.
Because we focus on personalizing your hearing care, I value your input throughout our discussion. This allows us to establish a cooperative hearing care approach that meets not only your hearing needs but also addresses your personal preferences and lifestyle concerns. If I do not identify any substantial permanent hearing loss, but your lifestyle, hobbies, or occupation might include significant risks when it comes to hearing damage, I will recommend lifestyle changes, better hearing protection, or provide you with information to help prevent future damage.
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A comprehensive hearing consultation is your first vital step toward regaining the independent and rewarding lifestyle you are missing due to hearing loss. An open and honest discussion about your hearing issues with a professional audiologist enhances the accuracy of the diagnosis and greater precision when it comes to treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with hearing, your best solution is to schedule a comprehensive hearing consultation to find out why.