Early diagnosis is key to preserving hearing. Hearing professionals recommend an annual hearing test.
All eyes are on our ears in October, as both Audiology Awareness Month and Hearing Protection Month are observed by the hearing healthcare community.
According to Hearing-Aid.com, anyone who suspects they may have a hearing problem is encouraged to make an appointment for a hearing test in October, when many hearing specialists will be offering free hearing evaluations.
In most communities, there are many choices when it comes to making an appointment with a hearing professional. An audiologist or an ear, nose and throat doctor can perform hearing tests and prescribe treatment, as can a hearing instrument specialist. These highly-trained professionals are qualified to perform comprehensive hearing evaluations to determine the cause of hearing problems, suggest appropriate treatment or provide referrals to another specialist.
For those who have never had their hearing checked, the comprehensive nature of today’s hearing tests may come as a surprise. It is important to know what to expect from a hearing test and evaluation.
After a visual examination of the ear, most hearing professionals will check the patient’s current hearing level and possible type and degree of hearing loss. Some may also take an impression of the ear, in case hearing aids are warranted, to determine if certain hearing aid styles like invisible hearing aids are appropriate for the patient.
There are seven hearing tests that any hearing professional may choose to use during a hearing evaluation.
1. Tympanometry – to test middle ear function
2. Pure-tone test – to determine hearing threshold levels
3. Speech reception test – to determine the lowest sound level at which the patient can detect and understand speech
4. Most comfortable listening level – to determine the most comfortable level to hear certain sounds
5. Uncomfortable loudness test – to determine the loudest noise level the patient can tolerate without pain
6. Speech discrimination test – also known as the word recognition test
7. Bone conduction test – to determine if hearing loss is related to issues with the inner ear
Hearing protection to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is also top of mind in October. Many hearing aid dispensers and other hearing professionals can produce custom earplugs and ear molds for people who want to protect their hearing from loud noise in the workplace, from recreational activities such as playing or listening to music, from shooting on a gun range or during a hunting trip, or from home maintenance activities such as mowing the lawn.
In October, Hearing-Aid.com recommends that anyone who suspects they may have a hearing problem make an appointment for a hearing test. If no hearing loss exists, October is also a great time to be fitted for custom hearing protection to avoid noise-induced hearing loss in the future.
Hearing-Aid.com is a comprehensive resource for consumers to learn about the diagnosis, treatment and management of hearing loss. We also help connect hearing loss sufferers with qualified hearing professionals in their communities.
Sponsored by the National Council for Better Hearing (NCBH), Hearing-Aid.com is led by some of the country's top hearing health educators and providers. Our mission is to provide the public with education and professional resources in order to achieve the healthiest hearing lives possible.