There are five main procedures that will be completed during your visit with the audiologist.
1) Case History
Case History. Your appointment will begin with a case history. During this time the audiologist will ask you questions about your hearing, noise exposure, communication issues, and medically related issues such as tinnitus and dizziness. A detailed case history helps the audiologist to understand your hearing needs and concerns, as well as, make appropriate referrals when necessary
Otoscopy. Following your case history, the audiologist will conduct otoscopy which involves looking into the ear with an otoscope (magnifying light). The audiologist will check for excessive ear wax, blockages, or any problems with your ear canal/eardrum which may require further evaluation by your primary physician.
Tympanometry. Tympanometry, a test of middle ear function, is the next step in your hearing evaluation. The audiologist will place a small probe into your ear. You may feel a slight pressure change. You may also hear a series of loud beeps. This test measures how well your eardrums move in response to slight changes in pressure. The purpose of this test is to identify any factors that may inhibit the motion of your eardrum such as fluid, infections, or eustachian tube dysfunction.
Audiometry. Finally, a comprehensive audiometric evaluation will be performed. During this testing you will be seated in a soundproof booth and instructed to push a button when you hear a soft tone or beep. The audiologist will determine the softest sound that you are able to hear at several different pitches. This testing will be conducted using insert earphones and a bone vibrator (placed behind the ear to test the inner ear directly). This testing allows the audiologist to determine the type (sensorineural, conductive, or mixed) and degree of hearing loss. Next, you will be asked to listen to a series of words or sentences presented in quiet and in background noise. You will be asked to repeat each sentence/word. This testing provides the audiologist with useful information regarding your ability to hear/understand speech.
Counseling. Upon completion of all tests, the audiologist will sit down with you and explain the results. At this time, appropriate referrals and/or recommendations will be made. It may be suggested that your hearing be tested on a regular basis to monitor any changes. You may also be advised to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist to investigate the need for medical intervention. Or, it may be that hearing aids and/or other assistive listening devices are deemed to be the best treatment option for your hearing loss.