Hearing tests are an important diagnostic tool that is used to identify and diagnose hearing loss. Over 48 million people have some degree of hearing loss, making impaired hearing one of the most common chronic medical conditions that people live with today. Though it is common, it remains widely underdiagnosed.
At Hearing Technology Associates, we believe getting your hearing tested is a great way to be proactive about your hearing health and to intervene early if there are any symptoms you are experiencing that need to be addressed.
Who should have a hearing test?
Most people will have their hearing evaluated at least once during their lifetime. Babies typically have their hearing tested after being born, children have their hearing tested during yearly health screenings, and older adults will likely have their hearing tested as hearing loss disproportionately impacts aging adults. In addition to older adults, there are other populations that experience a heightened risk of developing hearing loss who could have their hearing evaluated regularly. This includes people who are regularly exposed to excessive noise – musicians as well as people who work in noisy environments – pilots, conductors, and construction workers.
How often should I have my hearing tested?
It is important to know how often you should get your hearing tested. The American-Speech- Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends the following:
- Ages 18-40: for people in this age group who are not experiencing noticeable symptoms, hearing should be assessed every 3 years.
- People 60 and above: the risk of developing hearing loss increases with age:
- 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74 have some degree of hearing loss.
- 1 in 2 adults, ages 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.
People in this age group should have their hearing evaluated yearly. Integrating a hearing test in annual health check-ins is a great way to remember to do this.
- People exposed to loud noise: According to the Hearing Health Foundation, over 30 million people are regularly exposed to hazardous noise levels. If you work in a noisy setting, are a musician , or regularly participate in activities that are noisy; you should have your hearing tested yearly.
- People with hearing loss: hearing needs can change over time so it is important for people with hearing loss to have their hearing tested annually.
Who performs hearing tests?
Hearing evaluations are facilitated by hearing and/or ear specialists. This includes ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors who are also known as otolaryngologists, audiologists who specialize in hearing healthcare, as well as hearing instrument specialists.
Here at Hearing Technology Associates, our expert and caring audiologists Dr. Tiffany Connatser and Dr. Nicole Steininger perform in-depth hearing tests and can guide you to better hearing at your pace, and within your budget.
What are types of hearing tests?
There are a few types of hearing tests that are used to identify and diagnose hearing loss. Two of the most common hearing tests that are used to evaluate hearing capacities in both ears include the following:
- Pure tone audiometry: sounds are played at different frequencies and pitches. Wearing headphones in a soundproof room, you will indicate what you can hear by raising your hand or pressing a button.
- Speech testing: similar to pure tone audiometry, speech testing involves speech being played rather than sounds. This is especially helpful for understanding your hearing in the contexts of conversations.
Other types of hearing tests include bone conduction, auditory brainstem response, and tympanometry.
When will I get my results?
Your results will be shared with you after your hearing test, during your hearing consultation appointment. Your hearing healthcare provider will walk you through your results using an audiogram – a chart that visually shows your hearing loss in each ear. You will learn the type of hearing loss you may be experiencing, the degree of impairment in each ear, as well as the types of sounds and speech that are more challenging for you to detect and process.
What happens after a hearing test?
The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids, electronic devices that are used to absorb and process speech and sound. If hearing aids are the best solution for you, your hearing healthcare provider will recommend specific types of hearing aids that are optimal for you. This will happen after your hearing results are shared with you.
It is useful to have your hearing evaluated, especially if you are experiencing any symptoms of hearing loss. Contact us today at (610) 747-1100 to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.