Discovering Detailed Insight about Hearing Tests and Hearing Aids
Hearing loss is undoubtedly a serious issue that just cannot be ignored by any means at all. When a person loses his auditory perception, then it is surely a frustrating phase because one gets this feeling of deprivation which others may not be able to understand.
The person who is unable to hear properly fails to indulge in interactions and social activities. To prevent the problem from getting worst, it is important to seek a solution. First, it is important to identify the key symptoms which shout out loud that you need to go for a hearing test
Why hearing loss occurs in the first place
Before deciding to go for a hearing test
, it is important to identify the key causes of hearing loss.
- A tumor or ear infection: Sometimes a simple ear infection can affect your auditory perception. There are times when there is a tumor or bone growth that affects the ability to hear.
- Wax accumulation: There are times when wax gets accumulated in the ear. It stops the sound waves, and as a result, you are unable to hear properly.
- Ear drum rupture: Auditory perception loss may also be caused by a rupture in your ear drum. This rupture can occur if you hear a loud blast or if you poke an object into your ear.
- Ageing: The inner ear structure experiences degeneration as you age so this may affect your hearing as well.
- Use of certain medicines: There is a possibility that auditory perception loss may be caused by the use of certain medications. For example, there is an antibiotic by the name of Gentamicin, and it can affect your auditory perception.
Symptoms that call for a hearing test
- Inability to respond to common sounds around you: The first and most important symptom is that you are unable to respond to the sounds around you. For example, you are unable to hear birds tweeting.
- Lose the power to hear in public places: People who are hard of hearing cannot identify sounds when they are in noisy places. For example, if you are in a plane, car or party and you are unable to identify sounds, then this surely spells out trouble.
- Forcing people to repeat what they wish to say to you: If you feel that you are asking people around you to repeat what they are saying, then this may be a red flag alert for you. If you are suffering from auditory perception loss, then the sounds will appear muffled. Moreover, it also becomes difficult to identify the high-pitched sounds of children and women.
- Frequently increasing the volume of the television: Well, if you feel the need to increase the volume of TV to the extent that others complain, then this may be a sign that you need to go in for a hearing test at the earliest
- A strange ringing feeling in your ears: There are times when you have this ringing feeling in your ears when you have been exposed to a very loud sound. Well, this is something that you need to take seriously. This ringing is a sign of auditory perception loss.
- Unable to communicate properly on telephone: People who have auditory perception issues often find it difficult to talk on the phone. The initial reaction is that such individuals start to avoid telephonic conversation. However, this approach is wrong, and gradually you have to come to terms with the reality. You need to understand that hearing loss is a real thing, but a solution is there.
Different types of hearing tests available
Now, once you are sure of the fact that you have hearing issues, then it will not be a smart move to ignore the problem. The right move is to come to terms with the fact that you have auditory perception issues and you need to get it treated in the best possible way.
Treating auditory perception issues is a greater challenge among babies and toddlers. The only way auditory perception issues can be identified in babies or toddlers is that the parents need to be vigilant on their part. If they feel that their baby or toddler is not responsive to sounds, then it is time to take medical help on an immediate basis. Now, we will start with the hearing tests for babies.
Hearing tests for babies
- Understanding the perception of Otoacoustic Emissions: The Otoacoustic Emissions are also known as OAEs. This test requires a microphone or miniature earphone to be placed in the ear. The next step is that the audiologist plays the sounds. When the baby can hear without any trouble, then, in this case, an echo gets reflected back into the baby’s ear canal. This echo is measured using the microphone. If the baby suffers from auditory perception loss, then it will not be possible to identify an echo on the microphone.
- Perceiving the concept of Auditory Brainstem Response: There is another test available as well that is used to identify auditory perception issues in infants. The test is known as Auditory Brainstem Response. To check the auditory perception, the audiologist plays the sounds into the ears of the baby. Now, in this test electrodes are used to identify the response. The electrodes are placed on the head of the baby. The main objective of this test is to identify how the hearing nerve can respond to the sound.
Every audiologist has a different approach to identify auditory perception loss in babies. Some audiologists use the mentioned tests separately. In other cases, if the baby does pass the OAEs, then the Auditory Brainstem Response test is conducted. Now, we will look at some hearing tests specifically meant for toddlers.
Hearing tests for toddlers
Home tests to check out toddler hearing
Most parents are apprehensive to take their toddler for a hearing test
right away. This is why they first want to confirm where their child has got auditory perception issues. Well, the truth is that now it is not difficult to assess this aspect at home. Toddlers are quite responsive. You can try whispering in the ear of your little one. If he is unable to respond, then this does indicate a problem. Moreover, the toddlers get quite involved when they hear the music. If your child fails to respond to music, then it is yet another indicator that there is a problem that you need to address right away. Obviously, these tests are not technical. However, they do point in the direction that the child has a hearing issue. This is why the best approach in this regard will be to consult an audiologist right away. The audiologist will perform the listed tests.
- Visual reinforcement audiometry: In this test, the toddler is trained in a way that he has to look towards the sound of the source. If the toddler can give the correct response, then he gets a reward. The reward is given through a visual re-enforcement. For example, a moving toy is a shown to the child. This test works well for a toddler of about 2 years old.
- Audiometry test: Well, an audiometry test is enough to identify hearing issues in a This test requires the use of hand-held sound stimuli. This sound stimulus represents different frequencies. The audiologist observes the response of the child to these different sounds. The toddler’s behavior helps the audiologist to ascertain the seriousness of hearing loss.
- Tympanometry: This hearing test is conducted for children aged between 3 years and 4 This test checks out the functioning of the middle ear. Now, this test does not directly identify hearing loss. However, it helps to identify the pressure changes in the middle ear. It is not easy to conduct this test among young children. The reason is that the child is required to sit still. Moreover, the child cannot move, talk or cry during this test.
- Pure tone audiometry: This test is also meant for children aged between 3 to 4 years. Now, an electric machine is used for this test, and it creates different kinds of pitches and sounds. The kid is asked to wear an earphone. Moreover, the child is asked to respond in some way when he hears the sounds on the earphone.
Hearing tests for adults
Now, when you are an adult, then it becomes much easier for you to identify the hearing issue and get it checked.
- Speech test: Now, the speech test requires you to hear different words at a different volume. The audiologist expects you to repeat all the words that you hear. With the help of the results of the speech test, the audiologist can easily prepare an audiogram. The audiogram further helps the audiologist to access the threshold of speech reception.
- The pure tone test: Now, in this hearing test, the audiologist does not make you listen to specific words. On the contrary, he makes you listen to pure tones. You hear these tones through the headphones. This test is performed on each ear at an individual level. As soon as you hear the tone, you are required to raise your hand or press a button. The results of this test are illustrated as an audiogram. This test shows the softest tones that you can hear with ease at different frequencies.
- Bone conduction test: If the audiologist feels the need, then he might carry out a bone conduction test as well. This test is also used for measuring your ability to hear different sounds. A small bone conductor is placed behind your ear during this test. This bone conductor does not emit any sounds. However, the conductor can easily send the vibrations to the inner ear. The vibrations help to identify your hearing threshold, and the results are illustrated using an audiogram. Once the pure tone test and the bone conduction test have been conducted, then it becomes much easier for the audiologist to identify which parts of the ear are mainly responsible for the hearing loss.
Interpreting the hearing test results
Once you get your hearing test
results, it will be advisable that you discuss the audiogram with the healthcare professional. Now, the audiogram is a graph that displays the different pitches or frequencies of sound that you can hear. Now, there are two main categories to classify hearing loss.
- Symmetrical hearing: Well, the symmetrical hearing loss means that hearing loss is same in both the ears. In this situation, the lines that indicate the hearing frequency and pitches will be the same for both the ears.
- Asymmetrical hearing: The asymmetrical hearing loss means that each ear has a different hearing loss. Now, the hearing loss of each ear is represented using different lines. There is a possibility that different causes can contribute to the hearing loss in each ear, so the healthcare practitioner has to judge the situation accordingly.
Another question that might come to your mind is whether you have a high-frequency hearing loss or low frequency. When you look at the top of the hearing test
, then you will notice that the frequency is measured horizontally. When the frequency moves from left to right, then this means that it is going from low to high.
Now, the final question is that you will want to know the level of your hearing loss. Well, the first thing to note down is that sound is measured in decibels. When you look at the audiogram, on the left side, then you will notice that vertical measurements are used to represent a hearing loss.
The word recognition score is also present on your audiogram. It represents your abilities to comprehend speech. If at any point in time you feel that your hearing test
is not accurate, then the wise move will be to get tested again to be sure of the results.
Coping with hearing test results
If an adult suffers auditory perception loss at a young age, then it becomes hard to cope up with the problem. However, giving up is surely not the solution at this point of time, and you need to gather your courage to deal with the problem. Once the hearing tests confirm that you have hearing issues, you need to develop a positive bent of mind before moving towards the solution. The solution will save you from getting into a depressive state.
Hearing aids: The ultimate solution for hearing loss
Once your audiologist confirms your hearing loss, then the first solution that he will suggest in this scenario is to go for a listening device. However, before deciding to go for hearing aids, you should follow a certain line of action. You should list down all your questions which refer to the use of hearing aids. When your questions are answered by your audiologist, then it will help to remove any confusion that comes to your mind. Moreover, it is also important that you should specifically jot down your hearing difficulties. This way you can be very specific in your questions and how the hearing aid can help you. If you have been using any medication, then it is important to let your audiologist know about these medicines as well. If you feel anxious about the whole situation, then it will not be a bad idea to discuss your hearing problem with a friend who has gone through the turmoil. This way you will get the emotional support from that person and will gradually accept your hearing issue. Moreover, talking to another person with a hearing issue will help you to deal with this issue in a better place.
Going about the hearing aid selection
When you are selecting your hearing aid, then there are many aspects that you need to keep in mind at that point of time. This is why that you should do a bit of research at your end before getting your listening device. Now, here we will consider different features that you have to look for when buying the hearing aids.
- Hearing aids with advanced features ideal for young adults: Now, if you can afford to spend some extra amount, then you can go for hearing aids that come with advanced features. For example, some hearing aids have directional microphones. They are quite helpful in enhancing the speech. Moreover, such hearing aids are also quite helpful in reducing the background noise. Additionally, some hearing aids have telecoils as well which help you to hear the phone calls with ease. You can also go for hearing aids with wireless connectivity.
The advantage of the wireless connectivity feature is that the listening device can connect with the Smartphone with ease. This is why it becomes easier to adjust the settings and volume. The phone calls can also be sent to the hearing aids directly when the wireless connectivity feature is available. Such hearing aids work well for young adults who have a strong understanding of technology.
- Hearing aids suitable for the elderly: Now, older adults prefer their convenience more over the features. For example, such individuals can go for listening devices with the programmability feature. Now, what an older adult can do is that at the time of buying he can ask the seller to set the programmability feature as per the older adult’s
Now, you have two options when it comes to the style of the hearing aids as well. They are some hearing aids that can easily be fitted behind the ear. Some of these devices can fit within your ear canal too so when you are making your choice you have to consider your ease and the functionality as well.
Adjusting your hearing aids
Now, adjusting the listening device may seem like a difficult job if you have not used this device in the past. The best approach in this regard is that you should maintain strong communication with your healthcare professional. It is important that you should communicate your concerns to your doctor so that he can help you out in the best possible way.
It is also important to understand that it will take you some time to adjust to the hearing aids if you have hearing impairment issues for years together. Things will settle down gradually, and you need to understand this.
Your brain will take a bit of time to adjust to the sounds. You may get the hearing aids adjusted as per your requirement. However, in this case, some sounds may sound louder, and you might feel uncomfortable, but the positive aspect is that you will get used to these sounds gradually. If you get this overwhelming feeling while wearing the hearing aids, then you should either slow down the volume, or you should remove the hearing aids for a while.
The best way to get used to your hearing aids is that you should make it a point to wear them on a daily basis. This way it will take you less time to get adjusted to this device. Now, most people often wonder how much time it will take you to adjust to your hearing aids. Well, it usually takes about 4 months for you to get adjusted.
The common mistake most people make is that they ignore the fact that they need hearing aids. Well, this approach is quite wrong. The reason is that if you deny the use of hearing aids for a long time, then it will lower your word recognition score. There is a chance that gradually your muscles can get damaged, and it may become impossible to restore the hearing loss damage. This is something that no one will want at the end of the day.
If you suspect that you have hearing issues, then get hold of an experienced audiologist. When you go to someone who is experienced, then he will have the vision to deal with the problem more efficiently. Follow this guideline. The sooner you get medical help, the easier it will become to get your life back on track.