Hearing loss happens gradually over the course of many years, so many patients are unaware of the extent of their hearing loss. It is easy to ignore early earning signs, or brush off obvious yet mild symptoms. However, it is important to check for hearing changes periodically in order to get proper treatment.
For example, some of the common early signs of hearing loss include:
- Straining to hear conversations in social settings
- Frustration over other people “mumbling” or not speaking clearly
- Constantly turning up the volume on the television or radio
- Asking people to repeat themselves on a regular basis
- Not hearing the doorbell when others can hear it
- Normal sounds of birds chirping or insects humming sounding more distant or inaudible
- Avoiding social settings, or fatigue after being in a social setting
- Friends or family asking about your hearing difficulty
If you or your loved one has experienced any of the above signs of early hearing loss, it’s time to get tested. Our hearing care providers offer a free hearing screening to patients in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, allowing you to correct your condition as quickly as possible. Visit our locations page to find the Premier Hearing Center nearest you!
Regular Hearing Testing and Screening Is Important for Your Health
What might seem like a minor nuisance could become a serious health risk. At first, patients may be frustrated that they cannot hear the doorbell or their favorite TV programs, but eventually hearing problems can touch every part of your life in a profound way—and not for the better. Hearing loss can cause significant health concerns, such as increased risk of falling, injuries, poor balance, and social anxiety.
Hearing testing and screening from Premier Hearing Center (PHC) is important to do every year. We encourage you to schedule your hearing test at PHC at the same time as you schedule other regular appointments, such as your vision checkups and dental checkups. This way, you will have a baseline for future hearing testing, allowing us to see—and correct—any hearing changes instantly.
What to Expect at Your Hearing Testing Appointment
When you arrive for your exam, you will be greeted by the front office staff and asked to fill out several forms, including those that record your personal information, summarize your medical history, and verify your insurance. Your hearing care provider will review this information with you, as well as ask you some questions to discover the types of environments in which you may be experiencing some difficulty hearing.
Next, your hearing care specialist will conduct several tests to determine the presence, cause, extent, and type of your hearing condition. Diagnostic testing for hearing loss may include the following:
- Physical exam. Before your tests begin, your hearing care specialist will have to make sure there are no blockages or visible problems in your ear canals that could affect your hearing. To do this, he or she will look into your ears using a lighted otoscope, examining the ear canal, ear drum, and whether or not there is ear wax obstructing the canal. If there is a buildup of wax in your ear canal, your hearing provider can safely extract it, easing the pressure on your eardrum and improving your hearing ability.
- Audiometric test. The first test that is conducted is the pure tone hearing test. This is conducted in a quiet environment, sometimes in a soundproof booth. The audiologist will place headphones that are connected to an audiometer over your ears. The audiometer transmits a series of tones at a variety of volumes into your ears to determine the exact point or “threshold” at which you can hear various frequencies of sounds. When you hear a sound, you will be asked to say “yes” or raise your hand.
- Speech testing. You will be tested using a series of low and high frequency words to determine your ability to understand verbiage within a short distance, as in a conversation. You will also listen to a series of one- and two-syllable words at different volumes and be asked to repeat them. This will determine the levels at which you can detect and understand speech. The results will help us determine your percentage of hearing loss and if hearing aids will help you.
- Tympanometry. Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (the tympanic membrane) and the conduction bones by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. This can detect if one or more parts of the hearing structure are not working properly.
- Otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing. This test allows the hearing care provider to understand how the outer hair cells of your inner ear are working. It is used to detect blockages in the ear canal, such as a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea.
- Tinnitus evaluation. Tinnitus is a common condition where a person experiences a ringing, rushing, or buzzing in the ears. Tinnitus will not cause you to go deaf, but its presence may affect your daily activities. Our professionals can help recommend a course of action to deal with this persistent problem, and offer hearing protection options to prevent the condition from worsening. Our custom hearing protection includes Musician Plugs ER-9, 15, 25, Musician’s Monitors, and even molds for iPods and sleep plugs. Each person has an individual response to treatment, and our goal is to work with you to relieve this condition.
- Live speech mapping. If you have some degree of hearing loss, we can show your family members what it is like to live with your condition using live speech mapping. This process uses probe microphones and live real-time speech to allow whole families to immediately see and understand the differences in hearing ability and the benefits of hearing aid treatment.
At the end of the session, your hearing care specialist will go over the results of your tests with you. These results are recorded on a form called an audiogram, which is a graph showing the limits of your ability to hear in various frequencies and decibels. Your hearing provider will describe your type, pattern, and degree of hearing loss, as well as the percentage of normal conversational speech that you are still able to hear. You can ask your hearing care provider any questions you may have, as well as discuss the best treatment options for you.
Visit Us Today for a FREE Hearing Screening!
Premier Hearing Center offers a complimentary hearing screening for patients throughout New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Call us today at 888-280-7114 to make an appointment at one of our offices nearest you, or click the button on this page to sign up for a free hearing screening.