I’ve talked with many first-time patients in the last 25+ years of serving the Moses Lake, Omak, and Ellensburg, WA communities, and many of them are nervous about getting the hearing assessment we offer. So, I thought I’d talk through the process here to give you complete transparency and a better understanding of what to expect.
In short, during a hearing assessment, we’ll:
- Talk for a bit
- Have a look into your ears
- Check your hearing with different words and sounds
- See how well your ear canal and eardrum respond to certain tones
- Discuss your results together
- Suggest what we can do next
1. Conversation (following COVID-19 protocols)
Even though all the paperwork will already have been filled out, I’d like to get to know you a bit and also get a picture of how you like to live your life.
I’ll pick out anything in our conversation that might be contributing to your hearing loss — your work, daily activities, health history, family medical history, etc. I’ll also get a good idea of what a customized treatment plan might look like if we find you have a hearing loss.
This is also your time to ask me questions about anything at all to do with hearing loss, the hearing assessment, and what you hope to get out of diagnosing and treating your hearing loss.
I want to make sure you have answers to anything and everything so that you feel comfortable moving forward.
2. Physical Exam
Because hearing loss could be due to something as simple as earwax buildup, I’ll look into your ear canal and at your eardrum with a scope to see if there’s anything in your ear canal that shouldn’t be there — such as a bug, a cyst, or inflammation. I can also make sure your eardrum looks healthy and whole.
3. Hearing Assessment
I’ll have you sit in a soundproof booth with headphones on so you can hear a series of sounds and words. You will let me know when and what you hear each time.
I’ll mix it up each time so the words or sounds are louder or softer, and I can change the pitch as well.
Testing your hearing this way gives me (or the hearing care professional you make the appointment with) an accurate picture of exactly what you can and cannot hear well.
4. Impedance and Otoacoustic Emissions Tests
I’ll perform these two tests to determine what type of hearing loss you have — conductive, sensorineural, or both.
For the impedance test, I’ll put a small probe into your ear canal and play certain tones. As this happens, I’ll see how all the parts of your hearing system react to it.
For the otoacoustic test, I’ll put a small probe into your ear canal that will tell me how the hair cells in your inner ear are functioning when I play certain tones.
5. Discuss Your Results
We’ll discuss the results of the test together and I’ll explain exactly what they mean. If your hearing is normal, I’ll tell you how you can maintain your hearing health and prevent any future damage.
If you have any degree of hearing loss, I’ll suggest treatment options based on your lifestyle and preferences, explain why I’m suggesting them, and answer any questions you might have.
I want your first hearing assessment to be a great experience.
Contact us with any questions or to book a hearing assessment with one of our hearing care specialists.
We look forward to partnering with you to restore or maintain your valuable hearing, and, by default, your independent lifestyle.