In most cases hearing loss is gradual and so you may only become aware of it as it progresses or a loved one may realize it prior to the one suffering from the loss.
Usually, hearing loss is age-related, mostly affecting the high frequencies. However, it can also be caused by loud noises or infection, it may come on suddenly, or it may be hereditary. Early treatment is the most effective treatment. If you wait too long, the amount of understanding speech can be affected, and it can also impact how the mind functions. It has been related to early signs of dementia. Fortunately, in most cases of hearing loss, a hearing aid can improve the above issues.
These questions may help you find out if you have a hearing loss:
- Do people complain that the TV is too loud?
- Do you find a conversation in a restaurant or in a group stressful?
- Do loved ones complain that you are having trouble hearing?
- Do you tend to withdraw from conversations?
If you say yes to one or more of the questions, it is time for a hearing test. A hearing test is a way of testing and evaluating how you hear. A hearing test can not only determine if you have a hearing loss but can also determine the degree of loss (mild to profound) and sometimes the etiology.
A hearing test is performed by a regulated health professional. We will begin with a thorough exam of the outer ear to ensure that there is no wax impaction. Next, we will evaluate the middle ear by doing a procedure called impedance. It will detect if there are any abnormalities in the middle ear. Finally, we will proceed to perform pure tone, bone conduction and speech testing. In pure tone and bone conduction testing, you will be asked to press a button to indicate the softest tones that you can hear. These tones will change in pitch. Speech testing will help the health professional gage on how well the auditory nerve is in response to how well you understand and discriminate speech.
The entire process takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Once the test is completed, the health professional will review the results with you immediately and answer any questions that you may have. We will also provide you with our recommendations.
With testing a child in our clinic (6 months old and older), the testing procedures are quite similar to adult testing. We do a case history, we examine the outer and middle ear, and then we perform pure tone audiometry. By age 4 or 5, we can use the traditional method by pushing the button when they hear a sound. Under the age of 4, we perform Play Audiometry or Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA). In VRA testing, the child sits on the caretaker’s lap where the sound is presented from speakers. When the child turns correctly to the sound source, the child will be reinforced by a lit-up teddy bear. This trains the child to respond by shifting their head toward the sound source.
Our audiologist will provide a complete hearing evaluation in our sound proof booth. An impedance testing will also be performed during your evaluation. An impedance test measures the mobility of your eardrum and is helpful in identifying middle ear problems, such as fluid collecting behind the eardrum. Only if a hearing loss in evident and amplification will benefit the patient a hearing aid evaluation will be suggested. If further investigation to your hearing loss is required the audiologist will refer you back to your family doctor for a recommendation of an ENT consult.
Hearing Test at No Charge to Patient
With a doctor’s referral all hearing tests at Markham Hearing Centre are covered by OHIP. Patients may bring the referral with them or have their doctor fax the referral directly to our office. Out of country or none referral patients will be charged a nominal fee for their hearing tests.