Comprehensive Hearing Assessments

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Your First Step To Better Hearing Is A Hearing Assessment

Among the health priorities for most people are eye exams, teeth cleaning, blood pressure and cholesterol tests, and an annual physical exam, but few people place hearing tests on their list of health care screenings.

Given the fact that hearing loss is the third most common physical health condition in America and impacts 1 in 8 individuals on a global scale, making hearing exams a low priority is a risky proposition. Because the World Health Organization predicts a doubling of hearing loss cases before 2050, regular hearing assessments should be a critical element in monitoring your health.

Audiologist examining ear with an otoscope

Who Is At Risk For Hearing Loss?

Aging (age deterioration) is among the leading causes of hearing loss, but hearing loss can affect individuals of any age due to a variety of causes, like:

  • Congenital Disorders
  • Ongoing or frequent exposure to loud noise (work, music in your headphones)
  • Head trauma
  • Various illnesses and diseases
  • Ototoxic medications
A young male sitting in a hearing booth during hearing test at South Shore Hearing Center

Collateral Damage Of Untreated Hearing Loss

Audiological research has discovered several seemingly unrelated, negative physical and mental health consequences associated with leaving hearing loss untreated, including:

  • Decreased cognitive capacity, leading to a 1.5 times higher risk of early-onset dementia.
  • Increased incidences of depression and anxiety.
  • Higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues.
  • Greater frequency of dizziness, vertigo, and falls due to poor balance.

The gradual onset of hearing loss makes it difficult to identify day-to-day changes to your hearing, which means that loved ones will probably notice a hearing challenge before you do. The only sure way to know whether you or a loved one is experiencing hearing is a comprehensive hearing assessment by a hearing care professional.

Hearing specialist inspecting a child's ear prior to hearing assessment

What Happens During Your Hearing Assessment?

Step 1: A Conversation About You

Besides having a genuine desire to get to know our patients as individuals, our initial conversation addresses any early warning signs like communication issues, ringing in your ears, stuffiness or fullness in your ears, challenges with dizziness, vertigo or balance, and various other indicators you have experienced.

We’ll also ask about your medical history, medications you are taking, your work and social activities, and any history of hearing loss in your family. This is also a great time for you to raise any questions or concerns you might have about our testing and treatment process, follow-up care, insurance coverage, and more.

Step 2. Physical Examination Of Your Ears

Your audiologist will physically examine your ears in order to rule out any structural damage to your ears as well as inflammation or blockages in the ear canal. Many patients with hearing challenges experience a temporary condition caused by inflammation, a growth in the ear canal, a bug, earwax, or a bit of fluff – all of which are easy to correct with medications or minor procedures.

Step 3: Hearing Tests

The third step in a hearing assessment that follows the best practices of audiological care includes a series of hearing tests conducted after seating you in a soundproof booth with headphones over your ears. The initial test will transmit a series of tones at different frequencies and volumes to establish your hearing thresholds. After testing with tones, your audiologist will transmit spoken words with and without background noise to establish how well you understand speech or conversation in various environments.

Another test, which uses a different type of headset to bypass the hearing pathway, is a bone conduction test. This test helps determine whether your hearing loss is a less permanent conductive hearing issue or a more permanent sensorineural hearing loss.

Your audiologist might also conduct a tympanometry test in order to evaluate how your eardrum reacts to sound, allowing us to identify hearing loss associated with damage to middle-ear components. Additional tests might also be considered in order to further pinpoint the source and severity of your hearing loss.

Step 4: Review Of Your Test Results

Unlike most tests in healthcare, our patients receive test results as soon as your audiologist finishes the exam rather than making you wait a few days for results to come back from the lab.

We believe in educating our patients rather than just ordering treatment, so your audiologist will show you the printed test results from your exam and then discuss what they mean. If treatment is necessary, your audiologist will discuss each available option, such as hearing aids, surgical procedures, changes to medication and ototoxic medication monitoring, tinnitus management, or various other options.

If your hearing tests are normal, then your hearing care professional will suggest various lifestyle changes to prevent damage to your hearing, like destructive habits that put your hearing health at risk, the use of ear protection at work or during certain activities, and other preventive measures.


Hear What Our Patients Have To Say

The Importance Of Scheduling A Hearing Assessment

The only way to know the truth about your hearing loss, its severity, treatment, and preventive measures to stop ongoing damage is with a hearing assessment. Consequently, scheduling a hearing assessment is your first step on the journey to better hearing.

If you or a loved one is not hearing as well as they used to, then it is time to fill out and submit our “Schedule a Hearing Assessment” form and let us help you hear better.

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