Hearing (Audiometric) Evaluations
Hearing evaluations include a number of specialized tests. They are used to help assess whether a patient has normal hearing or has experienced hearing loss. By using a battery of tests, a health care professional (audiologist) can determine the type and degree of hearing loss. Tests include:
- pure and warbled tone audiometry - to determine hearing loss at specific frequencies
- bone conduction audiometry
- speech reception thresholds
- determination of speech discrimination - used to determine a patient's ability to understand speech
This test measures the movement and integrity of the eardrum (tympanic membrane). It also can determine the absence or presence of fluid in the middle ear. It is helpful in measuring pressures in the middle ear with respect to air pressure in the environment. It is also used to determine if the muscles and ear reflexes are performing properly.
This procedure is used together with Impedance Audiometry and is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) as well as the conduction bones, by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal.
Hearing Aid Evaluation and Dispensing
In many cases, audiologists who evaluate a patient for hearing loss will make recommendations for a hearing aid best suited to meet the needs of a patient. Similarly, many audiologists also make “fitting” impressions for ear molds as well as minor adjustments to the hearing aid.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
ALDs are used when hearing aids are not sufficient to fully rectify a patient's hearing problems. ALDs include devices for television, telephone, and FM and infrared amplification for classroom or theaters.
For swimmers, those in high noise environments and for those in the music profession, custom ear molds can provide protection from further hearing loss.