A professionally administered audiological examination includes several components.
The process first begins with a scan. You will be asked a number of questions that provide demographic, historical, health and communication information. All answers must be given carefully. Your hearing care provider can learn a lot of information from this.
The second is an otoscopy examination. By looking directly into the ear canal with an otoscope, the provider can see if there are any abnormalities or obstructions that would interfere with getting accurate test results. Sometimes the cause of hearing loss is as simple as excessive earwax buildup. This step will fix it.
The third step is the auditory test. This includes a number of tests that include the pure tone test and the speech test.
Once armed with the dataset from this entire process, your provider can answer three important questions. First, does hearing loss exist? Second, if so, what kind of loss? And third, what is the degree or severity of the loss?
Your provider will review the results with you, answer your questions and provide a professional recommendation. The focus should be on education and information. You should feel comfortable with your provider, the thoroughness of the evaluation process and the explanation of the results.
If your condition requires wearing hearing aids to help you hear and understand better, you should be comfortable with your provider, as you are about to have a long-term relationship in which the most important person is you.
Angelo Darby, MA, LHAS is the director of the Renaissance Hearing Center in Wildwood. He can be contacted at 0219-461-352.