The first step toward a life of better hearing is a hearing test. At El Paso Hearing Aid and Audiology Center, we highly recommend getting your first hearing test by your 50th birthday.
If you have hearing loss, a hearing test, or diagnostic hearing evaluation, will detail the extent, type and specifics of your type and degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss issues are consistently one of the top reported health conditions for many Americans, including our military service members and veterans. Yet it is also one of the most undertreated. For example, 80% of hearing loss cases can be treated with hearing aids, but only 25% of individuals who could benefit from using hearing aids currently own them?
A diagnostic hearing evaluation, or hearing test, consists of a variety of tests. Each test examines a different aspect of the inside of the ear to determine where the hearing loss is coming from, such as the inner or middle ear. Together, the results from these tests indicate the type and degree of hearing loss an individual has, thereby determining which hearing aid is available for assistance.
The audiologist at El Paso Hearing Aid and Audiology Center will determine which hearing test to use, based on your age, medical history and presenting symptoms.
Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
An auditory brainstem response (ABR) is a test that shows how the inner ear, or cochlea, and the brain pathways are working. During an ABR, electrodes are placed on the head; they record brain wave activity in response to sounds heard through headphones. Patients undergoing ABR don’t have to respond; they can rest quietly or even sleep. As such, ABR tests are great for infants and young children.
Auditory processing evaluations
Auditory processing describes how the brain recognizes and interprets sounds. Being able to hear and recognize sound properly is important for speech and language development and learning. It is important that individuals, especially children, be evaluated as soon as possible if they show signs of an auditory processing issue.
Possible signs and symptoms of auditory processing issues include:
- Difficulty listening in background noise
- Difficulty following complex oral instructions
- Varied response to auditory stimuli
- Easily distracted, impulsive and frustrated when too much noise is present
- Difficulty with reading or spelling
- Short auditory attention span
Symptoms typically are exacerbated by noisy or highly stimulating environments. Note that these are only some symptoms and are not always indicative of auditory processing issues.
Industrial hearing screenings
Hearing damage is a real and unfortunate effect of long-term exposure to loud noise. Yet, hearing damage from noise is fully preventable when the right precautions are taken from the start. Our audiologists want to ensure that complying with OSHA regulations is easy for your organization or company, which is why we are trained to provide hearing screenings for your employees and to help educate employees on proper hearing protection.
Newborn hearing screenings
The newborn hearing screening is standard across hospitals nationwide. The primary purpose of the newborn hearing screening is to identify newborns who are likely to have hearing loss and who require further evaluation. Newborns’ hearing can be tested via auditory brainstem response, otoacoustic emissions, or both.
An audiometry exam focuses on your ability to hear sounds. During audiometry, you will be asked to wear headphones, which are plugged into a machine. The machine will play sounds, such as tones or speech, at different volumes and intervals into one ear at a time. You will be instructed to respond to each sound. The results of this test will determine hearing acuity.
A common test of the middle ear, tympanometry, looks at how well the eardrum moves. During this test, your audiologist will place an earphone or small probe into each ear. Air will be pushed into your ear through the probe, moving the eardrum. From the test, your audiologist will receive a tympanogram. The graph will indicate how well the eardrum moves.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)
Otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs, are the sounds given off by the inner ear, or cochlea when responding to sound. Inside the inner ear, tiny hair cells are responsible for responding to the sound by vibrating; the vibration produces a small sound that echoes back to the middle ear, known as the OAE. Measuring the OAEs can indicate the strength of the tiny hair cells and any potential hearing loss in the inner ear. OAE tests are performed by placing a small probe inside the ear. The probe, which is a small earphone, will play sound in your ear and measure the sound that echoes back.