Do you have hearing problems? Are you certain? Hearing loss attacks people from all walks of life, and it has slow progress making it hard to detect. It has detrimental effects on your well-being as it can lead to mental illnesses like depression. Getting regular hearing tests and yearly follow-up tests can help you to detect hearing loss early.
What Does an Audiology Test Consist Of?
The main reason for carrying out a hearing test is to establish whether you are suffering from hearing loss and the severity of the condition. A detailed hearing test can help identify the type of hearing loss you may be suffering from; it can be sensorineural, conductive, or a mixture of the two. The test will help determine the best medication for hearing loss, whether you should use cochlear implants, bone-anchored systems, or hearing aids.
Types of hearing loss
There are three primary forms of hearing loss:
Conductive: Conductive hearing loss is when sound cannot get past the middle and outer ear. You will experience difficulty hearing soft sounds, and louder sounds will seem to be drowned. It is caused by ear infections, foreign particles in the ear, allergies or colds, and a torn eardrum.
Sensorineural: It is the most prevalent type of hearing loss. Damage to the nerves connecting the brain or inner ear causes the condition. Some of its causes are head trauma, internal ear abnormalities, loud noises, and aging. Specific medication and illness that is toxic may be a cause.
Mixed: Mixed hearing is the fusion of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. It is slightly worse than the other conditions.
How is an Audiology Test Conducted?
The process is painless and can take up to half an hour. You will be asked to don some earphones and listen to brief tones played at varying pitches and volumes to each ear one at a time. Using your hearing ability of the tones played by the audiologist will determine the level of your hearing loss.
In some hearing tests, the audiologist plays the speech into the earphones at different volumes, and you will be asked to repeat the words you heard. A soundproof room is used for this test to eliminate background noise.
Interpretation of The Results
Decibels are used to measure the intensity of sound. A whisper is worth 30 decibels, while everyday speech is rated at 60 decibels. Shouting carries about 80 decibels. Here is the breakdown of hearing loss:
- Mild hearing loss: ranges from 26 to 40 decibels
- Moderate hearing loss: from 41 to 55 decibels
- Moderate to severe: from 56 to 70 decibels
- Severe hearing loss: from 71 to 90 decibels
- Profound hearing loss: from 91 to 100 decibels
Why do you need a hearing test?
If you are having trouble hearing conversations in a crowded area or have to raise the TV volume, you may suffer from hearing loss. The problem is not easy to detect as it takes some time before it manifests itself fully. Regular checkups are a sure way of detecting hearing problems. Here are some of the causes of hearing loss:
- Taking certain medication
- An ear infection
- Using too much ear wax
- Genetic hearing problems
- Power tools and the lawnmower
- Loud live and recorded music
- Shooting guns and other noise-making weaponry
- Head hits
Hearing loss is a significant cause of depression among older people. They are left of events because they cannot hear, and isolation leaves them depressed.
Hearing loss Treatment
Hearing loss cannot be restored, but there are many ways of enhancing hearing and protecting yourself from further degeneration. Treatment options are split into two; conductive hearing loss and age-caused hearing loss have different treatments.
Treatment for Age-caused hearing loss:
Cochlear implants and hearing aids
If the medical practitioner recommends hearing aids for your ears, you will have to undergo fitting; it’s the process of calibrating the aids to meet your distinct hearing loss. The hearing aid amplifies sound; technological advancement allows you to customize your hearing aids to your taste. You can wear them inside the ear or behind the ear, depending on your preference. The aids are ideal if your hearing loss ranges from mild to moderate.
Cochlear implants are perfect if the hearing loss is severe and the standard hearing aids are little help. The device amplifies sound and pushes it towards your ear canal. It bypasses the damaged parts of the ear and only stimulates the functional hearing nerve.
Auditory Training and Rehabilitation
Training and rehabilitation complement other methods of treatment. It may help the brain to stimulate itself and start converting noise into sound. You can seek training help from an occupational or physical therapist. Smartphone apps and audiobooks offer a cheaper alternative if your budget is tight.
Conductive Hearing Loss Treatment
The other half of hearing loss is called conductive hearing loss. It results from a condition in the middle inner or outer ear; it is usually temporary. A perforated eardrum, wax increase in the ear canal, and fluid accumulation in the middle ear are other causes of conductive hearing loss.
During treatment, a nose-ear-throat specialist may be roped in to help tackle the specific cause. Surgery may be the ideal option in some cases. If the hearing loss does not clear up, your healthcare provider should investigate other available choices like surgical implants like the bone-anchored system, cochlear implants, or hearing aids.
Assistive Listening Devices(ALD)
In a situation where you need a device that meets specific personal needs, an ALD may come in handy. They are available on multiple devices that you use for daily activities. For instance, amplifier phones allow you to increase the volume to hear your caller. Other devices like compatible phones, television fitted with ALD, and alerting devices help bridge the communication gap.
When looking for an audiologist, look for one that can evaluate your hearing and prescribe suitable medication. Remember to take regular hearing tests and annual follow-up tests to eliminate and arrest the risk of hearing loss. Follow the advice of your audiologist and use the prescribed treatment.