You’ve had your suspicions for some time – your hearing just doesn’t seem as sharp as usual.

Fortunately, you’ve taken the correct next step and made an appointment for a hearing test. Unfortunately, that’s also when your nerves kicked in, and the butterflies have been fluttering in your stomach ever since.

Let us at Fox Valley ENT reassure you – you’ll be perfectly fine! So, please, do relax.

Hearing loss can be more difficult to treat if it’s left untreated for too long, so it’s great that you are taking this important step now. To ensure that you are cool and calm for your hearing test, we’ve put together this blog that explains what will happen. This way, there will be no surprises and you can relish in the fact that you’re doing the best thing for yourself on hearing test day.

A pre-test chat

Before we can do anything or decide on any treatment, we need to learn more about you. Sometimes hearing loss can be a hereditary condition, so we’ll ask if any other family members have a hearing loss.

We’ll also check on your current health. Have you had a cold recently? Do you have ongoing trouble with excess earwax? Even more seriously, have you experienced any recent head trauma or injury?

Environmental factors will also be considered. Do you work in a factory or in construction? Are you regularly exposed to loud music?

Finally, we’ll discuss the challenges you’ve had with your hearing and the impact it’s made on your life. Once we have a good understanding of your background, we’ll move on to the hearing test.

The moment of truth

The purpose of your hearing test is not only to find out what you can and cannot hear, but to also establish a baseline of your hearing. This way, we can track any changes in the future.

We’ll also find out whether you have sensorineural or conductive hearing loss. This is important to know, as the treatment can be different for both types.

The test will consist of two parts. The first test is called pure tone audiometry.

We’ll go into a soundproof room and you’ll be given some headphones to wear. They’ll be connected to a machine (an audiometer) that measures the different pitches or frequencies you can hear.

You will listen to a range of pitches and tones, and each time you hear a beep, you will press a button. From this, we’ll find out the softest levels of sound that you can hear for each frequency.

The second test is called speech tone audiometry. As the name suggests, we’ll be looking at how well you can hear speech and recognize words.

First, we’ll read a list of words to you at various volume levels and ask you to repeat them. This will tell us the lowest volume in which you can clearly hear and understand words.

For the next part of this test, we’ll check your word recognition ability. We’ll read to you a series of words and ask you to repeat them. This will tell us how easily you can understand and distinguish different words when you hear them spoken.

Occasionally, we will perform a third test called a tympanometry, which tests your acoustic reflexes. A soft plug will be placed onto your ear. By creating pressure changes and generating sounds, we’ll learn how well your eardrum moves and note the reflexive responses of your middle ear muscles.

The results are in …

Often the worst part of any test is waiting for the results. Fortunately, your hearing test results are practically immediate, so there’s no need to become anxious.

We’ll review your audiogram – a chart that shows the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies. Each ear will have its own line, and from this we’ll determine whether you have a hearing loss, and if you do, how mild or severe it is.

We’ll discuss your results, explain what type of hearing loss you have, and discuss the best treatment options. If hearing aids are suitable for you, we’ll review the different types and their features, and recommend the ones that best match your needs, lifestyle, and budget.

You’ll also learn about the effects choosing no treatment will have on your hearing health. Ultimately, the choice will be up to you, but you will be provided with everything you need to know to make the right decision.

With offices in Algonquin, Elgin, and St. Charles, Fox Valley ENT strives to improve our patients’ lives. To begin your journey to better hearing, contact us today to arrange an appointment with one of our friendly audiologists.

Do you know somebody that needs to see this? Why not share it?

Joseph, T Pacer

Joe Pacer has been an Audiologist with Fox Valley Ear, Nose & Throat Associates since 1988. He received his Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Northern Illinois University in 1986 where he continued and received his Master of Arts in Audiology in 1988. He is a member of the American Academy of Audiology. Joe works closely with his patients and has extensive experience performing hearing evaluation as well as recommending, fitting and trouble shooting hearing aids.