At Thigpen Hearing Center, PLLC we conduct our initial hearing assessments with a straightforward four-step process.
In our experience, this process yields the most accurate and personally relevant results through a combination of state-of-the-art hearing tests and a thorough interview, to ensure that we fully understand your lifestyle and your needs. Understanding your concerns and what’s most important to you in a better-hearing solution is one of our most important priorities.
Step One: The Interview
The interview help us to determine how you are experiencing your hearing loss and to uncover any information that might help reveal its cause and treatment solution.
Typical questions include:
Step Two: The Hearing Examination
The examination of the ear canal gives insight into the health of your ear. We’ll observe the skin of the ear canal, size of the canal and look at the health of your eardrum. This inspection will help us determine if the hearing difficulty you are experiencing is being caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. We will use a magnifying instrument called an otoscope to painlessly inspect the outer ear.
Step Three: The Hearing Test
Hearing testing examines outer ear, middle ear and inner ear performance, as well as your ability to understand speech. Your ability to hear is then recorded on a chart and clearly documented so you can visibly see the degree of hearing ability or hearing loss and specific frequencies of hearing loss. Hearing tests often include the following, depending on your needs:
Step Four: Treatment Options
With this step, we will discuss the process of normal hearing and how that relates to the hearing difficulty you may be experiencing. We will specifically point out where the “break down” in your hearing is coming from, how much hearing loss has been documented, and the implications of this loss on your communication abilities.
We will also provide aural rehabilitation skills and techniques that you and your family and friends can use to improve communication. We will discuss home acoustics and the influence on hearing related to the degree of hearing loss. The audiologist will educate your family about the impact of hearing loss on your life and provide appropriate coping techniques. Benefits of treatment solutions will be discussed along with options of services.
When needed, a referral will be made to your primary care doctor or other specialist to treat a medical concern. The hearing evaluation provides the information necessary to diagnose treatable conditions of the ear, such as middle ear congestion, eardrum perforation or deeply impacted ear wax.
Amplification with hearing aids is the preferred treatment for most types of permanent hearing loss and can provide significant improvements in the ability to communicate effectively. Patients are continuously surprised at the ease of adjustment and improved clarity with appropriately fit hearing aids and management. Today’s digital hearing aids come in a variety of designs (including the least visible models) with a wide range of functions and features to address an individual’s specific needs.
Assistive Listening Devices
ALDs are specialized hearing technologies that help people with all degrees of hearing loss. These devices can facilitate face-to-face communication and improve experience with media such as televisions and telephones adapted to help the hearing impaired. These devices and accessories assist with connection to most media for improved hearing with or without hearing aids. Flashing phone lights, vibrating alarm clocks and audible smoke detectors are just a few of the ALDs that allow many hearing impaired people to function independently.
Surgery & Implants
More severe hearing losses may benefit from devices surgically implanted into the ear to improve hearing, facilitate lip reading, and make it easier to distinguish certain sounds. Typically, these are most helpful to deaf or profoundly hearing-impaired people who are unable to achieve sufficient benefit from hearing aids.
A few examples of surgical implants: