Comprehensive Hearing Tests

A Hearing Screening Is the First Step to Better Hearing

You probably make regular dental checkups, eye exams, blood pressure checks, and annual physicals healthcare priorities, but when was the last time you had a hearing test?

According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the US and cases are expected to double within the next 30 years. So, why do people place a hearing test so low on their list of healthcare priorities?

Six Common Hearing Loss Myths

In spite of the fact that untreated hearing loss can have devastating financial, mental and physical health, lifestyle, and relationship consequences, the bulky, frustrating contraptions your parents or grandparents wore are the first image in your mind when someone mentions hearing loss.

Rather than living with the stigma attached to hearing aids, most people reduce the importance of their hearing and avoid getting their hearing assessed.

Their reasons for skipping hearing tests usually include any or all six of the most common hearing loss myths.

1st Myth – “If I had a hearing problem, I’d be the first to know.”

Actually, you will probably be the last to know if you have a hearing problem. Hearing loss comes on gradually, making it difficult to notice until you begin to struggle to keep up with conversations. It is likely that family members, friends, and co-workers will notice that you are struggling before you do, and they are probably already suggesting that you seek help.

2nd Myth – “My hearing problem doesn’t bother anybody.”

The person your hearing problem bothers most is you. Untreated hearing loss leads to early cognitive decline and other physical health conditions as well as mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Hearing issues reduce your independence, lead to strained relationships, threaten work productivity, and decrease your quality of life.

3rd Myth – “I’ll hear fine if others talk louder or I turn up the volume.”

Most hearing loss issues are associated with clarity rather than volume. When you turn up the volume on distorted hearing, you just add to the distortion. High-frequency hearing loss involves the elimination of certain sounds such as birds singing, crickets chirping, and women and children’s voices. When these frequencies become unclear, it becomes difficult to differentiate between consonants such as “s,” “f,” “sh,” “th,” and “ch,” which cause you to misunderstand words during conversation.

4th Myth – “Only old people have a hearing loss.”

You’re only partly correct. Age-related hearing loss is more common, but hearing loss can affect people of all ages. Noise-induced hearing loss, according to the CDC, affects approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 while nearly 16 percent of all teens from 12 to 19 experience a hearing loss from excessive noise events or prolonged noise exposure. Causes of hearing loss can also include the continuous use of ototoxic drugs, genetics, various diseases, and brain injuries no matter what age.

5th Myth – “Hearing aids are bulky, ugly, and a nuisance.”

Hearing aids are not the only solution to hearing issues, but when they are the right option for your condition, you can rest assured that modern devices are nothing like those of a decade or so past. Micro-digital technology makes it possible to manufacture hearing instruments that are smaller and lighter with enhanced performance, greater clarity, and a more natural hearing experience.

6th Myth – “A hearing test won’t fix my hearing.”

A hearing test is the first step toward better hearing. By testing your hearing, we are able to identify the type and severity of your hearing loss in order to design custom solutions for your unique case. In addition to diagnosing hearing loss, hearing tests often identify other critical mental and physical health conditions.

During a hearing test, we can also evaluate your risk for noise-induced hearing damage associated with your occupational or lifestyle activities and recommend better hearing protection, so the problem won’t get worse.

What Can You Expect During Your Hearing Test?

Some people put off hearing tests because they don’t know what to expect. Rest assured that hearing tests are non-intrusive, easy, require about thirty minutes to complete, and provide you with immediate results.

Our hearing tests include four basic parts:

Beltone Hearing Center

Initial Consultation

Your initial consultation provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about hearing loss and hearing care while we learn more about the issues causing your concern. We start off with a conversation about your family history, your occupation, hobbies, and common activities you enjoy as well as your medical history and the medications you take.

Through this conversation, we learn about environmental, genetic, medical, and lifestyle activities that have the potential to contribute to hearing loss. Bringing along someone close to you for this consultation can be helpful for filling in information you might leave out.

Physical Examination of Your Ears

Following our initial consultation, we will do a physical examination of your ears using an otoscope. You will recognize this instrument, which is essentially a magnifying glass with a tapered tip and a tiny light that’s used by your regular doctor to examine your ears.

With the otoscope, we are looking for obstructions in the ear canal such as inflammation, growths or tumors, wax buildup, bugs, and other objects blocking the ear canal.

Hearing Aid Specialist Carrying Out Hearing Test On Female Patient
Hearing specialist sat at a desk

Hearing Test

After physically examining your ears, we will fit you with a set of headphones to undergo a series of tests, including:

Pure-tone testing

Pure-tone testing, air conduction testing, or simply a “hearing test” is the test with which most people are familiar. Using an audiometer, we transmit sounds at various pitches and different volume levels to determine the quietest sound you can hear at different frequencies, establishing the specific hearing threshold for each ear.

Speech testing

Speech testing goes beyond measuring your capacity to hear tones to measuring your capacity to discriminate between spoken tones and words. You will be asked to repeat the words you hear while we insert environmental conditions and background noises from silent to extremely loud to better identify your hearing thresholds in real-world application.

Bone conduction testing

Bone conduction testing makes use of a different type of headset, known as a bone vibrator. With this headset, we transmit sounds that bypass the outer and middle ear to measure how well your inner ear is processing sound. By comparing the results of this test with the pure-tone test, we can determine whether you have a conductive or sensorineural hearing loss.

In some rare cases, you may be referred for additional tests in order to further identify or isolate the cause of an impairment or hearing loss.

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Discussion of Results

The last part of our hearing test includes going over the test results. We will show you the results and explain what they mean while answering your questions about any treatment options. If no permanent hearing loss shows up during testing, we’ll discuss possible risks, recommend hearing protection, and/or advise preventative measures to prevent future damage. If hearing aids will provide the best solution to your hearing loss, we will begin the process of educating you about the various options we have available to meet your unique preferences and lifestyle concerns.

Besides hearing aids, testing might identify hearing issues that require different types of treatment options, medications, minor outpatient procedures, tinnitus management, changes to your prescription medications, or a referral to another specialist.

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Why We Visit Beltone For Our Hearing Screening

Schedule Your FREE Hearing Test

The first vital step toward regaining the quality of life you are missing due to hearing loss is a hearing test.  An honest discussion of your concerns and evaluation of your condition provides the foundation upon which we can develop a customized solution to fit your unique case.

If you or a loved one is struggling to hear as well as you used to, start your journey toward better hearing by scheduling a comprehensive hearing test today.