Diagnostic audiologic evaluations provide consise hearing threshold measurements and may be indicated for individuals who did not pass an initial hearing screening or if your hearing needs to be further examined.
The evaluation is done to expose an undetected hearing loss and detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It allows Dr. Jarrell to determine the cause of that hearing loss as well as provide guidance in making appropriate treatment recommendations.
Before your hearing examination, a complete medical history will be collected. Dr. Jarrell will want to hear about any complaints you have about your hearing. We pay special attention to any concerns you have about exposure to noise, tinnitus and balance problems, illness or injury etc. With the use of a special instrument, known as an otoscope, she’ll inspect your outer ear to take a close look inside your ear and figure out whether the hearing difficulties you are having result from an obtruction or damnage to your ear canal or eardrum. Hearing testing is then completed inside our soundproof booth, followed up with a disucsion to interprate your results and any recommended treatment options.
What tests can I expect?
The specific tests we will complete during an evaluation will depend on the patient’s age, symptoms and medical history. These various tests will determine the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. Dr. Jarrell will also establish if the hearing loss is conductive (middle or outer ear problem) or sensorineural (inner ear problem or an issue with the auditory nerve and central auditory pathways).
At a minimum, a diagnostic audiologic evaluation includes pure-tone testing, bone conduction testing and speech testing.
Pure-tone and bone conduction testing
Pure-tone testing determines the quietest tones that a person can hear at different frequencies, both low and high. Bone conduction testing is similar to pure-tone, however, a different type of headset is used to provide the audiologist with different information. A bone conduction test will help the audiologist determine whether the loss is conductive in nature or sensorineural.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test is used to confirm the results of a pure-tone test. This test determines the lowest level of sound the patient can clearly identify words or speech.
QuickSIN testing is a speech-in-noise test that quickly and easily measures the ability to hear in noise. Speech understanding in noise cannot be reliably predicted from the pure tone audiogram or other standard audiometric tests.
The audiologist may also perform otoscopy (physical examination of the outer ear and, ear canal and eardrum) and tympanometry (test of the middle ear) to determine the health of the ear canal and the middle ear.
Specialized tests exist for infants and young children, as well as children and adults with developmental and cognitive impairments. These more-specialized tests allow the audiologist to test the auditory system when the patient is not able to actively participate in the tests or evaluation.
How can I get the most out of my hearing evaluation?
The evaluation will last about 30-40 minutes in length. We allow 60 minutes to ensure ample time for discussion with Dr. Jarrell to review test results and ask questions. If the results indicate you need hearing aids, you will have sufficient time to discuss your options.
It is recommended that you bring a family member with you to the evaluation appointment. Most audiologists agree that hearing loss is a family issue. It helps to have another supportive person at your appointment to help you understand the information and recommendations.
Diagnostic audiologic evaluations are a great chance to establish a relationship with your audiologist. Above all, don’t be afraid to ask us questions! You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.