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The Value of Hearing Tests

In Blog by Upstate Hearing

Hearing Screenings
A hearing screening is a five minute test used to quickly identify potential hearing loss.  A few tones are presented at a level consistent with normal hearing in both ears. If any tones are not heard, that is an indicator that there may be hearing loss at one or more frequencies and a full hearing evaluation should be scheduled.  A hearing screening will only tell us if hearing is within normal limits or needs further testing. If a medical evaluation is determined, we will refer you to your primary care provider or an ENT.  

If any of the following apply to you, an annual hearing screening is recommended.

  • Any suspicion of some hearing deficit
  • Family history of hearing loss
  • History of loud noise exposure through occupation or the military
  • Excessive noise exposure through recreational activity including firearms or motorcycles
  • Use of a potentially ototoxic medication, including antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Hearing screenings are always free at UpState Hearing Instruments. Call to schedule an appointment.

Full Evaluations
A full evaluation takes 20 to 30 minutes. For the full evaluation, we start by finding the hearing threshold (softest sounds that can be heard) at all frequencies. Speech testing is conducted to identify comfortable and uncomfortable speech levels. We do speech recognition testing and speech in noise testing. Bone condition testing helps us to identify the type of hearing loss. Conductive loss means something in the ear is preventing sound from getting to the cochlea, like wax, fluid or infection, or issues with ear drum or ossicles. Sensorineural loss refers to nerve damage which is most common.

Annual Tests (non-hearing aid users)
An annual hearing test is important, as we want to monitor any known hearing loss.  Hearing ability often progressively declines over time. Sometimes changes in hearing can be subtle and hard to perceive, sometimes changes are drastic and obvious.  It is important that changes in hearing be monitored and documented. If there are any unusual changes in hearing, proper referrals for further evaluation can be made and appropriate amplification options may be discussed.

Annual Tests (hearing aid users)
Annual hearing tests for our hearing aid users allow us to check on three important aspects of successful hearing aid users.  

  • We physically check the ear; make sure it is healthy: free of cerumen, infection, or foreign objects.
  • We test the hearing (as described above, subtle changes can go unnoticed, but can affect our ability to understand speech clearly).
  • We check the hearing aids thoroughly.  We test the aids to make sure they are functioning properly, and are up to date (sometimes there are software updates to improve the hearing aids performance). We also have an opportunity to make sure the hearing aids are appropriately adjusted for current hearing loss.

Written by Shelly Kahl, AuD