Comprehensive Assessment and Evaluation of Hearing Loss

Since hearing loss has become the third most common health issue in the US, behind arthritis and heart disease, you would think that hearing tests would also be a priority equal to having blood pressure and cholesterol screenings or annual checkups.

A Male patient sitting in a sound testing booth at Denton Hearing Health Care in Texas

However, most people put off hearing tests for between 7 and 10 years even after the first signs of hearing loss begin to appear. During that time, not only does hearing deteriorate, but there is also an increased risk of developing mental health issues like depression and anxiety as well as contributing to physical health challenges like balance disorders and cognitive decline.

If you’re ready to get ahead of hearing loss before it takes over your life, it’s time to ask yourself, “Who is able to do a hearing test near me?

Our audiologists at Denton Hearing Health Care have the experience, expertise, and equipment to accurately identify the type and severity of your hearing loss through a comprehensive hearing assessment and then provide advanced solutions to address your needs.

What You Can Expect during a Hearing Assessment

A Friendly Conversation

We start our hearing assessments with a conversation about you, which provides us with an opportunity to get to know you and put you at ease, but we also learn about any genetic tendencies, medical conditions, and medications that might be contributing to your hearing challenges as well as occupational and lifestyle activities that put your hearing at greater risk.

Transparency is important to us, so your audiologist will give you a chance to ask questions or express concerns about your hearing, treatment options, and/or the hearing care services we provide.

Physical Examination of Your Ears

The next phase of your hearing evaluation will include a physical examination of your ears using an otoscope (a magnifying glass with a light on a tapered tip). Your hearing care professional will evaluate skin conditions, earwax accumulation, inflammation, or the presence of other obstructions in your ear canal as well as examine the structural health of the eardrum.

Discussing Your Results

Your comprehensive hearing assessment will end with an honest discussion about your test results and what they mean. We’ll discuss the options available to maintain or improve your hearing, which could include the use of hearing protection for work or certain activities and hobbies, changes to medications, or lifestyle habits as well as the need for hearing aids or other interventions.

Your input during this process is an essential element in helping to establish a viable hearing care partnership that is based on honesty and trust.

Hearing Tests during a Hearing Assessment

Comprehensive hearing assessments can include any or all of a series of hearing tests in order to pinpoint your specific type of hearing loss and its level of severity, including:

Tympanometry

By introducing a subtle pressure change into the ear canal, the tympanometer measures the pressure in the middle ear, helping identify the presence of fluid behind the eardrum or a ruptured eardrum.

Pure Tone Audiometry

Pure tone audiometry helps identify the type and severity of your hearing loss. Patients are instructed to respond to pure tones presented in descending levels from 250 Hz-8000 Hz that are transmitted through the ear canal using headphones (air) or via bone conduction, establishing your hearing threshold.

Speech Audiometry

Similar to pure tone audiology but tests your ability to understand speech and provides information related to your speech reception threshold (SRT) as well as a speech discrimination score (SDS).

During speech reception threshold (SRT) testing, you will be instructed to repeat spondee words (composed of two syllables pronounced with equal stress and effort), which are presented in descending levels. Your SRT score is the lowest level at which two of three spondees are repeated correctly.

Speech discrimination scores measure your ability to understand speech, which is revealed in a percentage score of the number of phonetically-balanced words you are able to repeat at a comfortable listening level.

Otoacoustic Emissions

Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) are tiny sounds recorded in the ear canal from the cochlea. The tiny nerve cells in the cochlea (hair cells) react in certain ways to the presence of sounds.

OAE testing is used whenever there is a variation of 15 decibels or more between the air and bone conduction tests. This test involves inserting a soft tip into the patient’s ear and then transmitting clicking or buzzing sounds into the ear in order to stimulate certain hair cells in the cochlea, which will emit a tiny response (similar to an echo) that can be measured with special equipment.

Pure tone audiometry helps identify the type and severity of your hearing loss. Patients are instructed to respond to pure tones presented in descending levels from 250 Hz-8000 Hz that are transmitted through the ear canal using headphones (air) or via bone conduction, establishing your hearing threshold.

What Our Delighted Patients Say

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are some early signs of hearing loss?

A. Those experiencing a hearing loss tend to:

  • Ask people to repeat themselves more frequently
  • Struggle to understand conversations in a noisy environment
  • Often mishear certain words
  • Believe that everyone around them is mumbling
  • Have friends and loved ones telling them to turn down the TV
  • Struggle to understand phone conversations
  • Experience a constant ringing or buzzing in their ears
  • Regularly hear others saying, “You need to get your ears checked.

Q. What causes hearing loss?

A. Most hearing loss is the result of presbycusis, or the deterioration of the structural components of the inner ear related to aging or genetics.

Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), which results from frequent or ongoing exposure to loud noise without proper hearing protection, is the second most common cause.

Additional causes might include earwax or some other object blocking the ear canal, inflammation, growths or tumors, and ototoxic drugs or medications.

Q. Are there different types of hearing loss?

A. There are three kinds of hearing loss:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss. A blockage (earwax, inflammation, growth, foreign object, etc.) inside the ear canal.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The result of permanent damage to inner ear structures (cochlea) or the auditory nerve.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss. A combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Q. Are there different levels of hearing loss?

A. Your capacity to hear various pitches or frequencies is measured and plotted on an audiogram during a hearing assessment, allowing your doctor of audiology to classify your hearing loss in any of five categories, including:

  • Mild: Trouble hearing conversations in a noisy room or when someone is speaking quietly and is manageable or even unnoticeable in quiet environments.
  • Moderate: Understanding conversation in a group setting becomes more challenging and people tend to have the TV turned up too loud.
  • Moderately Severe: Hearing and understanding speech becomes extremely difficult, especially in group environments or when talking on the telephone.
  • Severe: Normal conversation is essentially inaudible, and shouting can be a challenge to comprehend.
  • Profound: Only the loudest sounds are audible, and shouting may not be heard at all.

Q. Can I have a hearing loss in just one ear?

A. Although rare, single-sided hearing loss is possible, although bilateral hearing loss is much more common. Those who believe they can hear okay in their “good” ear have learned to favor one ear while their hearing deteriorates.

True unilateral hearing loss can be associated with:

  • Congenital defects or genetics
  • Illness or infection in one ear
  • Head or ear trauma to one side

Single-sided deafness (SSD) is when hearing loss in one ear is so severe that a conventional hearing aid will not help, but certain hearing technologies are able to route sounds from the poor ear over to the good ear by using wireless technology.

Q. Can I prevent hearing loss?

A. Hearing loss cannot always be prevented, but you can limit its impact on your quality of life by:

  • Limiting your exposure to noise without proper hearing protection at work, while doing chores around the house (mowing the lawn, sawing wood, etc.), enjoying recreational activities (snowmobiling, target shooting, hunting, etc.), or attending a concert, nightclub, or major sporting event.
  • Annual hearing tests, especially if you’re over the age of 50, allow your hearing care provider to monitor your hearing health and help you take action before things get worse.
  • The use of hearing aids to address your hearing loss can slow further deterioration, making the most out of the hearing ability you have left while helping you maintain your balance and protect your brain against cognitive decline.

Q. Are hearing aids the only treatment option for hearing loss?

A. About 95% of sensorineural hearing loss cases require the use of hearing aids, but if your hearing loss is caused by a blockage (conductive hearing loss), such as wax buildup, a foreign object, inflammation, a growth or tumor, and/or structural damage to your middle ear, your hearing healthcare professional can perform medical or surgical interventions to correct your hearing challenge.

Schedule a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment

Are family and friends harassing you to turn down the TV or to get your ears checked? Maybe a night out or family gatherings are no longer enjoyable because background noise makes it impossible to enjoy conversation

It could be time to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment with one of our doctors of audiology at Denton Hearing Health Care. Regardless of where you are in the North Texas region, you can start your journey to better hearing and a better quality of life by submitting the adjacent form so a member of our team can provide scheduling assistance.

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