It is important to have your hearing tested if you suspect you may have some hearing loss. It’s a good idea to add a hearing evaluation to your regular health regime if you are over 55, have a family history of hearing loss, seem to have ringing or buzzing in your ears more frequently or if you work or worked in a noisy environment.
Give our team at Palm Beach Hearing Associates a call for an evaluation, even if you may not be experiencing hearing issues. An initial hearing evaluation will set a baseline so you can better monitor your hearing. Keeping tabs on your hearing is important because untreated hearing loss can lead to a variety of physical and mental issues. And, hearing is such a big part of your life that you don’t want to miss anything by not having your hearing issues addressed.
A hearing evaluation at Palm Beach Hearing Associates is private and painless. No pencils, no pens, no essays to do – and it takes between 20 minutes to an hour. You may want to bring a friend with you – two people listening and asking questions is a great idea because then you can discuss what happened at the evaluation and be sure you didn’t miss something.
What the Test Shows
A hearing test measures your ability to receive and process sounds. It will determine what type of hearing loss, conductive, sensorineural or mixed, that you may have and whether medical treatment or hearing devices are needed. A noninvasive examination of the ear drum and ear muscles may also be done. And then we will lay out all the findings and discuss them with you. We can determine what type of hearing loss you may have.
Types of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss. Sensorineural is the type of hearing loss which occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the nerve path to the brain from the inner ear. This kind of hearing loss is permanent but can be treated very efficiently with hearing devices. It could be caused by a sudden loud noise or prolonged exposure to noise.
Conductive hearing loss happens when sound doesn’t travel properly from the outer ear canal to the eardrum. This could be due to blockage from ear wax, an ear infection, allergies or even a benign tumor.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two.
Family, Personal History Reviewed
We will go through your personal medical and family health history. Family history can sometimes help determine if there are any genetic or inherited issues present. Your personal medical history is important because things like allergies, head colds, infections and even ear wax impaction can cause temporary or permanent hearing damage. Be sure to bring a long a list of the prescription medications you may be taking.
We will ask about exposure to noise. If you work in a loud environment, noise-induced hearing loss could be an issue. Nearly 30 million people each year are exposed to harmful noise levels in a working environment. The symptoms of hearing loss are important, so we will talk about that and how it may be affecting your life. We need to understand your lifestyle – from work to hobbies as well as social interaction.
The hearing test is conducted in a private sound-treated room or booth. We want to make sure all outside noise, from the air conditioner to keyboard sounds, are filtered out. You may hear noise in one ear and a tone in the other. You will be asked to repeat whispered words and an audiometer will measure what tones you hear and if there are some tone levels you can’t hear. Conversational tones will be measured. Words that you are asked to repeat will be played at different levels to determine what you can hear.
Reviewing Your Results
The results come in the form of an audiogram. It shows the softest sounds you hear, the different pitches you can hear and different sound frequencies you find audible. Results are plotted in decibels of hearing thresholds because that is the most accurate way to set up a hearing aid. Each ear is tested and graphed separately. Age-related hearing loss usually occurs in both ears. Treating hearing loss is done with a hearing device in each ear for optimum sound quality and comprehension.
If a hearing loss is detected, we will go through all your options and spend as much time as needed talking to you about the results and treatment. Hearing care is a journey, not a quick fix and we encourage you to ask questions. There are hearing aid models to fit your lifestyle, budget and your expectations. We’re ready to help you on your hearing journey at Palm Beach Hearing Associates.