Comprehensive Hearing Assessments


A Comprehensive Hearing Assessment Is Your First Step on The Journey to Better Hearing

Most people regularly have their eyes, teeth, and blood tested, but rarely do they include a hearing test in their health screening regimen.

Hearing test hesitancy is surprising given that hearing loss is the third most common physical health condition in America, impacting one in eight individuals globally. As the World Health Organization predicts a doubling of hearing loss cases over the next 30 years, regular hearing assessments should become a critical part of monitoring your health.

The gradual onset of hearing loss makes day-to-day changes difficult to recognize, which means that loved ones are likely to notice a hearing challenge before the person suffering from it does. Early detection of hearing loss allows for preventive measures to be taken and improves the outcomes of treatment.

Who Is At Risk For Hearing Loss?

Aging (Age deterioration) is among the leading causes of hearing loss, but hearing loss can affect individuals of any age due to various factors, such as:

  • Birth defects
  • Ongoing exposure to loud noise (work, music in your headphones)
  • Head injuries
  • Various types of illnesses and diseases
  • Ototoxic medications

Regardless of age or cause, regular hearing assessments identify the type and severity of your hearing issues, which allows your hearing care professional to develop a treatment plan that fits your unique needs.

Collateral Effects of Hearing Loss

Over the past decades, research in the field of hearing has discovered other, seemingly not directly related, physical and mental health-related consequences to untreated hearing loss.

Individuals who reported moderate to severe hearing difficulties had poorer cognitive performances overall, particularly in the domains of attention/processing speed and visuospatial ability. They also had a 1.5 times greater risk for cognition or dementia at the six years’ follow up (published in Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, using data from 1,037 Australian men and women aged 70-90 years enrolled in CHeBA’s Sydney Memory & Ageing Study from 2005-2017). Also, 2020 ‘Lancet’ Commission Report Finds Untreated Hearing Loss in Midlife as ‘Largest Modifiable Risk Factor’.

Another significant large study has revealed a clear association between untreated hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia, depression, falls, and even cardiovascular diseases. In a significant number of people, the studies indicate, uncorrected hearing loss itself appears to be the cause of the associated health problem (Dr. Lin, reported in November in JAMA Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery).

Dr. Deal, a gerontologist from John Hopkins, said she and her coauthors were surprised to find a link between poor hearing and cardiovascular disease. “It could be that vascular disease is common to both,” she said, but she added that social isolation and stress resulting from hearing loss are also likely to play a role.

Other health-related links to hearing loss, such as gastronomic problems and altering of mental health, were also reported.

What Happens During Your Hearing Assessment?

Quick, noninvasive, and simple, a hearing assessment is your first step on the journey to better hearing. There are four main parts included in a hearing assessment.

Dr. Bauman talking to patients at his desk

An Initial Conversation About You

Along with having a genuine interest in our patients as individuals, we have this initial conversation to address any concerns or questions you might have about hearing loss, including any early signs you experienced prior to your visit such as difficulty communicating with others, a ringing sound in your ears, a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears, and other issues.

We will ask some questions about your medical history, medications you are taking, work and social activities in which you participate, experiences with hearing loss in your family, previous or existing balance-related issues, and if you are experiencing tolerating any environmental sounds.

Lady having her ears checked

A Physical Examination of Your Ears

Next, your audiologist will physically examine your ears to look for damage to the structures of the ear or blockages in the ear canal. Many patients who are experiencing hearing challenges discover that their condition is not permanent but caused by an obstruction in the ear canal, such as inflammation, a growth, a bug, earwax, or a bit of fluff—all of which are easily corrected, resolving your hearing difficulties.

Lady having her ears checked
Elderly man sat in hearing test booth

Hearing Tests

Typical hearing tests include presenting a series of tones and speech tests that measure your ability to understand words in quiet and in noise, which involves seating you in a soundproof booth with headphones over your ears. Your audiologist will measure your response to the tones or spoken words at different frequencies (pitches) and volume levels to establish what you can and cannot hear.

We will also carry out a bone-conduction test, which uses a different type of headset to bypass the conductive structures of the hearing pathway and stimulate a response in the inner ear. This test helps determine whether your hearing loss is conductive (middle ear-related) or sensorineural (inner ear-related).

To measure how the structures of the middle ear and the eardrum respond to sound, your audiologist may also conduct a tympanometry test. The results from this test will identify hearing loss associated with damage to these components.

Additional tests to further pinpoint the source and severity of your hearing loss may be called for in some cases.

Dr Bauman holding small hearing aids

A Review of Your Results

Many healthcare tests require patients to wait a few days for results to come back from the lab. However, our results are available as soon as we finish your hearing test, allowing us to review the results during the same office visit.

Because we believe in educating our patients rather than just ordering a treatment, your hearing expert will place your printed test results in front of you and explain what your results mean.

If treatment is necessary, your audiologist will discuss the various options, which may include prescription hearing aids, surgical procedures, changes to medication and ototoxic medication monitoring, tinnitus management, or various other options.

If treatment is not necessary, we will discuss various lifestyle changes to prevent damage to your hearing, including medications, adjusting destructive habits, the use of ear protection at work or during certain activities, and other preventive measures.

Dr Bauman holding small hearing aids

The Importance of Scheduling a Hearing Assessment

Because it is the beginning of identifying the type and severity of hearing loss in order to customize a plan of treatment or preventive measures, scheduling a hearing assessment is a critical step in receiving better hearing care.

Even when a measurable hearing loss is not detected during a hearing assessment, the results establish a baseline against which future deterioration can be measured.

To ensure your hearing health, do not delay having a hearing test. Take the first step on the journey to better hearing and a healthier life by scheduling a hearing assessment today.

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