Are you concerned about your hearing? Do you often ask others to repeat themselves? Maybe you find it impossible to follow conversations in a crowded room. Perhaps someone you love is showing signs of hearing difficulty.
Here at Advanced Diagnostics and Hearing Solutions (ADHS), we believe that professional hearing evaluations are essential in order to accurately identify hearing problems and develop appropriate solutions.
Located in Brandon, Florida, Dr. Lisa Tanner, licensed audiologist here at ADHS, is fully committed to finding the best treatment options for her patients’ unique hearing needs. Our office will strive to answer your questions and address your hearing concerns with courtesy and care.
Are you wondering whether a professional diagnostic hearing test is really necessary? Maybe you have considered visiting a hearing aid specialist or participating in free hearing tests. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of a thorough hearing evaluation performed by a licensed audiologist, such as Dr. Tanner.
Why and When to get a Hearing Test
If you are experiencing signs of hearing loss, it is extremely important to get a comprehensive hearing test. Individuals with poor hearing often feel frustrated, depressed, and isolated. Having difficulty hearing can be a huge obstacle to simple conversations and basic life activities.
Infants and children with uncorrected hearing problems may struggle with speech, learning, and language development.
Signs of hearing problems include:
Following is a short list of signs of hearing loss. Click here to learn more about hearing loss and a more exhaustive list of hearing loss symptoms.
- Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
- Receiving complaints about the volume of your TV, radio, or other electronic devices
- Having to frequently ask others to repeat themselves
If you notice ringing, buzzing, or other extra sounds in the ear, you could have Tinnitus. In many cases, tinnitus is indicative of hearing loss. Also, if you’ve been exposed to piercing sound and notice changes in your hearing, contact an audiologist for an evaluation.
Hearing loss can occur gradually, so even if you’ve had a hearing test in the past, it’s important to be tested regularly. A hearing screening is recommended every ten years up to the age of 50, then every three years thereafter.
Regular hearing tests will help establish a hearing baseline and identify issues early on. However, if you fail the screening or currently show signs of hearing difficulty, it is best to follow up with an audiologist.
Do you need to make an Appointment?
Contact our office to discuss your hearing concerns and get help from Dr. Tanner.
Who Should get a Hearing Test?
Infants and Children
Hearing tests are important throughout all ages and stages of life. Infants undergo a hearing screening before leaving the hospital. Children two to three years of age should be screened during wellness physicals. Once children are in school, yearly screenings are recommended. Any infant or child with signs of hearing difficulty should be tested by a licensed audiologist.
Adults 55 and Older
After age 60, when age-related hearing problems often arise, adults should have their hearing tested regularly. This is important because individuals may not even be aware that they are experiencing early signs of hearing loss.
Work-Related Reasons to get Tested
People who work in noisy environments are especially prone to hearing loss. Construction workers, builders, carpenters, musicians, cosmetologists, bartenders and others should adequately protect their ears and test regularly for hearing deficits. Other careers require sharp, precise hearing skills in order to perform their jobs safely and accurately. Examples include drivers, musicians, emergency responders, pilots, and soldiers.
Regardless of age or career, if you or a loved one is experiencing any form of hearing difficulty, always follow up with a licensed specialist.
Types of Hearing Tests
Listed below are several tests that Dr. Tanner may perform during a diagnostic hearing examination.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE’s): When sound enters the ear, the inner ear normally reacts to these sound signals by producing tiny echoes of sound in response. A probe is inserted into the ear to assess these otoacoustic emissions. OAE’s give information about the integrity of the inner ear response. OAE’s are used for Newborn Hearing Screenings and Tinnitus Evaluations. The test is performed by inserting a probe inside the ear canal to measure the response of the inner ear to sound.
Impedance Testing: This series of tests examine the functioning of the middle ear. It measures the tension of the eardrum, pressure in the middle ear, and the reflexive action of the tiny muscle that protects the eardrum.
Tympanometry: Using a small probe, a tiny puff of air will be introduced into your ear to evaluate the eardrum and its response to sound. This can help identify problems such as stiffness, perforations, or fluid build-up.
Acoustic Reflex Measures: This is another test for the middle ear. Normally, when a loud noise hits the inner ear, a tiny muscle tightens reflexively to protect the eardrum. The volume of sound required to trigger this reflex is measured.
Auditometry: This test measures your ability to hear sounds of different frequencies. A series of high and low-frequency sounds will be played to determine which sounds you can hear the best.
Air Conduction Test: During this test, foam inserts are inserted into your ear canals, while you listen for a series of very soft tones, you respond when you hear the tone by pushing a button. High and low frequencies will be tested to determine the faintest sounds you can hear.
Bone Conduction Test: Normally, sound enters the outer ear, travels to the middle ear, and then reaches the inner ear. During a bone conduction test, sound will be introduced directly into the inner ear transmitting sound through the skull near the ear. A special vibrating headband is used; this will help determine where hearing problems are originating.
Speech Testing: Speech testing will examine your ability to hear spoken words and repeat them back. This test may be conducted in a noisier environment to simulate normal background noise.
Hearing Screening vs Diagnostic Hearing Test
Hearing screenings are offered at doctor’s offices, schools, and even large retail stores. Sometimes hearing screenings are available at public health events as well. For this test, you will be required to place headphones over your ears and acknowledge when you hear the beeps.
Hearing screenings can be a helpful tool to identify individuals at risk for potential hearing problems, but they are extremely limited. Often, they may happen in open rooms with background noise. Also, the hearing process is multifaceted; this approach only addresses one component of healthy hearing.
Trust your diagnosis with a certified audiologist, such as Dr. Tanner. During a diagnostic hearing test, Dr. Tanner will assess every part of the hearing pathway, which extends from the outer ear to the brain. These specific tests will help her determine your degree and type of hearing loss.
After her comprehensive exam, Dr. Tanner will use her knowledge and expertise to determine the best treatment options available for your unique hearing needs. She is up-to-date on the latest advances in hearing technology and will help you make informed decisions about what is right for you.
State-of-the-Art Hearing Test Booth
During a hearing test, it is crucial that the testing be conducted in a sound booth. This will eliminate noisy distractions from the environment and ensure that test results are as accurate as possible.
Dr. Tanner conveniently offers an advanced hearing booth right in her office.
Online Hearing Test
Did you know there are actually online hearing tests? Although these tests can be completed in your own home with fast results, they are only designed to be a screening tool. These tests are also typically used for marketing purposes. In order to view your results, you will often have to give your contact information.
It is always best to have your hearing tested by a knowledgeable, experienced audiologist. Also, testing in a soundproof booth with proper equipment will provide accurate, reliable test results.
Free Hearing Test
Free hearing tests may seem appealing. However, keep in mind that if the test is free, it is likely performed by an individual who is not qualified to charge for the testing. Many times, free hearing tests are not actually comprehensive hearing evaluations but rather a basic hearing test exclusively for the purpose of selling hearing aids. In fact, it is illegal to charge for a hearing screening in the state of Florida. A hearing screening is not a comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation.
Technicians at audiology franchises are generally commission-based and may not have the expertise necessary to identify your specific hearing needs. Failing to accurately diagnose and treat the exact problem could have serious consequences.
To ensure that you are getting accurate test results and the best treatment options for your particular hearing needs, always seek the expertise of a certified audiologist.