Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear — it affects your quality of life. Albrecht Audiology stresses the importance of an accurate and timely hearing test. The hearing evaluation is just the beginning of your treatment, and it’s essential to setting your unique care plan in motion and taking action on hearing loss. Your in-depth hearing evaluation will help us craft a treatment plan that renews your ability to hear, allowing you to truly hear your best and live life on your terms.
Step One: The Interview
The interview process helps our practice determine the extent of your hearing impairment and aids us in uncovering any specific areas requiring further attention. Some typical questions you’ll want to prepare for are:
- Has anyone else in your family had hearing problems?
- Have you had any illnesses or injuries that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you taken any medications that might have contributed to hearing impairment?
- Have you been exposed to loud noises in your workplace or while participating in leisure activities?
Step Two: The Examination
Our hearing care providers take a close look inside your ear and figure out whether the hearing difficulty you are experiencing could be caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. We use a special instrument called an otoscope to inspect your outer ear.
Step Three: Hearing Tests
Next we’ll need to figure out the nature of your hearing loss. The more we (and you) know about the status of your auditory system, the better we can advise you and help correct any deficits you may have. We have the equipment, knowledge and experience to test people of all ages. Assessment may include:
- Pure tone air and bone conduction threshold measurements - to determine the sensitivity of your hearing.
- Speech recognition testing - to measure your ability to understand speech if it is loud enough to hear.
- Speech-in-Noise testing - to determine how well you can understand speech in varying levels of background noise.
- Tympanometry - to measure the eardrum movement and middle ear status, which helps to determine whether there is a medical explanation for some of your hearing loss or ear symptoms.
- Otoacoustic emission testing - a very targeted test of the inner ear hair cells which can indicate early damage to the ear before it's noticeable to you or measurable with a pure tone test.
Your results will be documented on an audiogram. An audiogram is created after you take a pure-tone hearing test, to map out the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss. The audiogram shows your hearing loss by frequency, as pitch and loudness of sounds change. Frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz), and the loudness or intensity is measured in decibels (dB). We will help determine whether you have trouble hearing low or high pitches and what that means for you moving forward.
Step Four: Treatment Options
Hearing aids are the most common and least invasive option; and almost always the most successful treatment option. We will work with you to match your lifestyle needs with the most advanced technology, specifically designed to treat your unique hearing loss. The basic components of this instrument include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and a tiny processor. The exceptional effectiveness of your devices is the result of a powerful combination of professional expertise, software, and hardware.
Surgical procedures are an option for a small percentage (<5%) of people with hearing loss. Our testing will tell you if you are a candidate for these options. If it does, we will refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for a consultation.
Implants are an option for some people and can improve hearing, facilitate lipreading, and make it easier to distinguish certain sounds. Typically, these are most helpful if you are deaf or have a profound hearing impairment, and hearing aids would not be a useful treatment option. Implants include: cochlear implants, middle-ear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids, and auditory brainstem implants