What Happens at an Audiology Examination? Hearing Loss Tests

Published: 21st March 2009
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Audiologists specialize in hearing loss and related disorders. If you're suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears), your doctor might refer you to an audiologist for a complete evaluation. Let's take a look at what you can expect from an audiology examination.

When you arrive at the audiologist's office, you'll be asked several questions about your medical history and your hearing loss. Your answers will help the audiologist become familiar with your needs, formulate a treatment plan, and make referrals if necessary.

Next, the audiologist will perform a physical examination of your ear using a tool called an otoscope. This tool allows the doctor to peer inside your ear canal to check for excessive wax, blockages, infection, or irregularities that need to be addressed.

Once the physical exam is done, the audiologist will conduct a tympanometry test. During this test, the audiologist uses a probe to determine how your eardrum responds to a change of pressure inside the ear. It's a painless test that helps identify problems which would decrease the eardrum's flexibility, such as infection or fluid build-up.

After the tympanometry test, the audiologist will administer an audiometry test. This test evaluates how well you can hear different tones at different volumes. First you'll listen to sounds through a pair of headphones. Then the doctor will put a bone vibrator behind your ear to determine how well your inner ear conducts sounds. The results of the testing will tell the audiologist whether you have conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, or a mixture of both.

When all the testing is complete, the audiologist will explain the results to you. They will make a recommendation based on their findings. Then you can ask any questions you have regarding your treatment plan.

Some of the tones you hear during the audiometry test might be uncomfortable for a brief time, but audiology exams are generally painless and very useful for diagnosing and treating your hearing problems.

For answers to your hearing loss questions and to learn more about Bay Area hearing loss treatments, contact the skilled Los Gatos audiologist at Los Gatos Audiology and Hearing Aid Center.

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