A professionally administered audiological examination involves several components.
The process first begins with a survey. You will be asked a number of questions that provide demographic, historical, health, and communicative information. All answers should be given thoughtfully. Your hearing care provider can learn a lot of information from this.
Second is an otoscopic examination. By looking directly into the ear canal with an otoscope, the provider can tell if there are any abnormalities or obstructions that would interfere with obtaining accurate test results. Sometimes something as simple as a buildup of excessive earwax is the cause of hearing loss. This step will identify that.
The third step is audiological testing. This involves a number of tests that include pure tone testing and speech testing.
Once armed with the set of data from this entire process, your provider can answer three crucial questions. First, does a hearing loss exist? Second, if so, what type of loss is it? And third, what is the degree or severity of the loss?
Your provider will go over the results with you, answer your questions and make a professional recommendation. The focus should be to educate and inform. You should feel comfortable with your provider, the thoroughness of the evaluation process and the explanation of the results.
Should your condition require the wearing of hearing instruments to help you hear and understand better, you should be comfortable with the provider, because you are about to establish a long-term relationship in which the most important person is you.
Angelo Darby, MA, LHAS is the director at Renaissance Hearing Center in Wildwood. He can be reached at 352-461-0219.