Testing and correcting hearing loss has greatly improved
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12/26/12 at 2:39 AM
Dear Doctor K: I'm losing my hearing so my doctor has scheduled an audiological evaluation. What will this evaluation tell me?
Dear Reader: An audiological evaluation identifies the severity of your hearing loss and the frequency range in which it occurs. This information may help identify the cause of your hearing loss. It's also essential for determining whether you could benefit from a hearing aid and, if so, which style and type would help the most.
The evaluation is done by a hearing specialist, or audiologist, in a specially constructed booth that shuts out all unwanted noise. It tests the different parts of the ear that are necessary for hearing:
Pure-tone test Each of your ears, in turn, is exposed to sounds of different frequencies and decibel levels. The pure-tone test identifies the quietest tones that you can hear at different frequencies.
Next is a bone-conduction test This test helps establish whether your hearing loss is primarily sensorineural (caused by damage to the cochlea, hair cells or auditory nerve) or conductive (caused by a blockage of sound transmission through your outer or middle ear), or a combination. This test will also help determine whether your hearing loss can be medically corrected, and the kind of hearing aid you need.
Two additional tests will evaluate how well you hear and understand spoken words:
Speech reception threshold test You will hear words, instead of tones. The words start out loud and gradually get softer. The test identifies the decibel level at which you can understand and repeat only half of the words.
Speech discrimination test A speech discrimination test assesses how well you understand words. A high score on this test means that you are likely to benefit from a hearing aid. That's because your problem in understanding a spoken word comes from not hearing the word loudly enough, and a hearing aid can amplify the loudness of sounds.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106