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If you have made an appointment for a hearing test, congratulations! You have already taken the first step in the direction of a new chapter of your life, one in which you are able to converse without anxiety and enjoy the richness of the sonic world. With your appointment scheduled, you might have some questions about what to expect when you arrive.
The following are some of the basics of hearing examination and what you might encounter in your first appointment. Knowing what to expect can help relieve any concerns you might have and help you prepare for each step of the process.
At your first appointment, you will have the opportunity to consult with your hearing health professional about your needs and lifestyle. This first conversation is a great opportunity to describe the situations in which you notice hearing difficulty and any aspects of your lifestyle that make it difficult to hear.
For instance, some people have no problem hearing at home but face challenges while out and about, particularly in a place with other voices in the background. Others might worry that inserting and removing hearing aids would be difficult with their challenges regarding manual dexterity or arthritis.
If you have any specific concerns, feel free to bring them up during your consultation, and these pieces of information can guide the process forward.
Hearing tests come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common type is called “pure tone audiometry.” This simple type of hearing test plays tones of at different volumes and pitches, or frequencies, to determine at what point your hearing ability falls off. You will be given a set of headphones and asked to signal when you hear a tone. Some examiners ask you to simply raise your hand, while others use a button or other device to signal when a sound is heard. Importantly, you should not feel worried if you don’t hear a sound. This test is specifically designed to demonstrate the line between ability and inability to hear, and everyone has a line somewhere!
Other common forms of hearing tests involve speech recognition, speech recognition in the context of background noise, or even “tympanometry,” which tests your auditory reflexes with soft puffs of air into the eardrum. The important thing to remember with each of these tests is that you don’t need to worry about succeeding or getting a good score. The important thing is simply to demonstrate your ability to hear and respond. The information gathered in these tests enables your hearing health professional to match your needs with a set of hearing aids that can fill the gaps.
Reviewing Your Audiogram
After your test is complete, your results will be recorded on a graph called an audiogram. This chart maps the sounds you are able to hear and the level of volume at which you are no longer able to hear. The important thing to remember with your audiogram is that your hearing health professional is trained to read and interpret the results.
If you are curious to know more about your individual hearing profile, you can discuss these results with the expert. The graph depicts how loud a frequency of sound must be in order for you to hear it. These levels are mapped onto ranges from normal hearing ability to profound hearing loss. It is important to remember, for example, that you might have mild hearing loss in the low frequency range and moderate hearing loss among higher frequencies.
Hearing Aid Prescription
With this information in hand, your hearing health professional will be able to pair you with a set of hearing aids or may be able to present some options to you. Getting the right hearing aids is essential to your success, and no two hearing aid models are the same. Some are tailored specifically to speech recognition while others are equipped with features such as Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with apps on your smartphone.
It can be helpful to bring along a friend, loved one, or family member for support during your visit, because you are likely to receive a lot of information. Feel free to ask questions throughout the process! Contact us today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.