If you suspect hearing loss, you will need a comprehensive hearing test from an Audiologist. An assessment of your hearing usually begins with an examination of your ear. The Audiologist will first look into your ear using a lighted instrument called an otoscope. The Audiologist is looking for anything that might be blocking your ears, such as earwax or other physical objects, and is also checking the physical appearance of your eardrum. Along with the otoscopic inspection, you will also be asked for some background information about your hearing. This is called a case history, and it is very important that you provide the Audiologist with as much information about your hearing as you can.
After these pre-assessment procedures, you will be asked to sit in a very quiet room and a pair of earphones will be placed on your ears. An important part of your hearing evaluation is to determine how well you can hear and understand speech. You will be asked to repeat a series of words presented to you at various loudness levels.
During the next part of the evaluation, you will hear sound that seems like a whistle or beep and you will be asked to signal the Audiologist each time you hear the sound. By changing the tone of the sound and its loudness level, the Audiologist will determine the softest level that each tone can be heard. This procedure is done for both ears, one at a time. You will also be asked to listen for tones after the Audiologist has placed a vibrating object on the bone behind your ear. This measures your hearing by bone conduction. The results obtained via the earphones will be compared to the results of your bone conduction test to determine the type of hearing loss you might have.
After testing is complete, the Audiologist will be able to describe the status of your hearing. If hearing loss is diagnosed, you will be given full information regarding appropriate steps for treatment or referral.