An audiologist is a medical professional that helps with patients’ hearing health. These specialists can assist in cleaning earwax from the canal, repairing and adjusting hearing aids, and giving a series of hearing tests to check your hearing health. Hearing health tends to be something that many people neglect, but it’s just as important as the other aspects of health for the body. It’s important to have your hearing checked annually. Regardless of why you are visiting an audiologist, it’s important to know what may happen during an appointment.
Reviewing medical history
Once you visit the audiologist for the first time, they’ll want to review your medical history. Your general practitioner may send in information, the audiologist will also ask you a series of questions such as your hearing health, your lifestyle, and if you’re experiencing any hearing loss symptoms. This assessment will last around thirty minutes. Your ears will be examined, and you’ll most likely have a hearing test.
There are several common hearing tests that audiologists use for their patients. Each of these tests will have its function and they all differ from no other. These tests are for patients and they are very quick, lasting no longer than fifteen minutes, noninvasive, painless, and easy to follow as well. These common tests are:
This is most likely the very first test that you will receive from an audiologist. The pure-tone test is going to mostly assist the audiologist in determining whether or not you have hearing loss. It’s used to establish the frequencies that the patient is about to hear. It consists of sitting in a quiet room or booth, the audiologist or their assistant will give you headphones. The audiologist will then play a series of different frequencies, the patient will either have to raise their hand or push a button to indicate what they can hear. The test results of the pure-tone testing will be combined with the results from the bone conduction test.
Bone conduction testing
Bone conduction testing is very similar to the pure-tone test and usually assists in determining the level of hearing loss. These tests are often taken together and the results are compared. Both tests will assist in determining the level of hearing loss that the patient may have and in what ears. The pure-tone tests consist of determining the frequencies the patient can hear, while the bone conduction test will determine the vibrations. The audiologist will place a conductor behind the patient’s ear. This will then send small vibrations through the bones, which will go directly into the inner ear. This test can pick up on structural issues such as excessive earwax built up in the canal.
Other tests may be conducted during the appointment, such as tympanometry, speech testing, and for small children (such as infants), the otoacoustic emissions or auditory brainstem tests are conducted.
Hearing test results
Once the audiologist completes their assessment of the hearing tests, the results will be analyzed. The results for the hearing test will immediately come after the test is completed. It will depend on the audiologist whether or not they’ll want to go over the results or have your schedule a new appointment.
Once the case of hearing loss is determined, the audiologist will then review your treatment options. This can include different forms of therapy, such as sound therapy. But it can also include other forms of treatment such as hearing aids. Hearing aids come in a variety of different forms, styles, and technologies. These are often the most common type of treatment available for hearing loss.
Hearing aids come in a variety of different styles, with the most common being behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC), completely in canal (CIC) and invisible in canal (IIC). Your audiologist will work you through the options and will recommend the best solution for your specific needs.
After the results and the treatment plans are discussed ( this could still be the first appointment or a new one), there will be an additional follow-up appointment with the audiologist. This appointment will discuss the next steps in your hearing care. The appointments may vary slightly depending on the audiologist’s schedule, but you can expect them to be fully effective in getting your hearing health in check.
To learn more about hearing health and what an audiologist could do for you, you can visit Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology or call (661) 250-6781.