Hearing testing typically begins with hearing screening. Screenings are a preliminary test to check an individual’s hearing and if they require further evaluation. Screenings are a pass or no-pass test that screen for normal hearing levels. Screenings are regularly given to newborns, pre-schoolers and school-age children in either their schools, doctor’s offices or hospitals. Adults typically receive screenings at their doctor’s office or community health fairs.
An audiological evaluation will test for hearing loss, the cause, the degree of loss, the configuration of loss and the best treatment options.
If an individual does not pass the hearing screening or is believed to have hearing loss from a cause such as age or an ear infection, the individual should see an audiologist for a hearing evaluation. An audiological evaluation will test for hearing loss, the cause, the degree of loss, the configuration of loss and the best treatment options. The evaluation is comprised of medical history, physical exam of the ears and a series of hearing tests such as a middle ear or tympanometry test, speech testing, pure-tone test, auditory brainstem response and otoacoustic emissions.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) are sounds that come from the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated by a sound. The sounds are caused by the cochlea’s sensory cells as they respond to the stimulation. The sound can be measured by a small probe inserted into the ear canal. The OAE test is often included in newborn hearing screenings. It can detect blockage in the outer ear canal, fluid in the middle ear and damage to the outer sensory cells in the cochlea.
Tympanometry is a test that measures the movement of the eardrum with a probe-type device. It uses air pressure to move the eardrum and emits loud tones when the device begins to take measurements. The measurements of the eardrum movement are recorded in a tympanogram. The test takes about two minutes for both ears and can be used for any age group. Our practice uses Titan wideband tympanometry, which offers a 3D diagnostic insight of the middle ear.
If you or someone you care for is showing signs of hearing loss, please contact our office at (818) 859-7730 to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.