Hearing impairment affects more than just your ability to hear — it affects your quality of life. Thigpen Hearing Center & Thigpen Audiology stresses the importance of an accurate and timely hearing test. The hearing evaluation is just the beginning of your treatment, and it’s essential to setting your unique care plan in motion and taking action on hearing loss. Your in-depth hearing evaluation will help us craft a treatment plan that renews your ability to hear, allowing you to truly hear your best and live life on your terms.
Step One: The Interview
The interview process helps our practice determine the extent of your hearing impairment and aids us in uncovering any specific areas requiring further attention. Some typical questions you’ll want to prepare for are:
- Has anyone else in your family had hearing problems?
- Have you had any illnesses or injuries that might have affected your hearing?
- Have you taken any medications that might have contributed to hearing impairment?
- Have you been exposed to loud noises in your workplace or while participating in leisure activities?
Step Two: The Examination
Our hearing care providers take a close look inside your ear and figure out whether the hearing difficulty you are experiencing could be caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. We use a special instrument called an otoscope or video otoscope to inspect your outer ear.
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Step Three: Hearing Tests
Next, we determine the amount of hearing loss if present and the cause of hearing loss. There’s a chance we will include hearing tests such the following:
- Tonal testing to measure your hearing ability at different pitches or frequencies
- A hearing screening to measure your hearing at four frequencies at 25 decibels each
- A speech assessment to measure how well you hear and understand ordinary conversation at different volumes
- A middle-ear evaluation to measure how your eardrum and hearing react to varying degrees of air pressure
Your hearing results will be recorded on a chart called an audiogram. This will visually show you the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss. We will educate you about the extent of your hearing ability with implications from your hearing test. You will leave with a clear understanding of the process of hearing as well your own hearing ability.
Step Four: Treatment Options
The doctors will discuss with you in detail the appropriate recommendations based on your hearing testing as well as your health history and hearing needs. Treatment options might include a variety of recommendations including but not limited to:
- Communication strategies to assist better hearing at home and work for you and your family, co-workers, or friends
- Medical referral to an ear-related specialist, if needed, for specific ear disorders or symptoms
- Hearing-protection devices
- Routine hearing testing to monitor rate of change in hearing
- Assistive communication devices such as closed-captioning phone, TV Bluetooth devices, and more
- Hearing aids specific for your hearing loss, physical ear size, and communication needs
- Family recommendations for communication assistance at home
- Tinnitus management strategies and monitoring their effectiveness
- Wax management and removal as necessary
- Individual recommendations specific to your hearing health