Do you feel like you miss parts of conversations because you can’t hear properly? Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves when they speak to you? Do you often miss your phone ringing, or your name being called? These are just some of the many symptoms associated with hearing loss.
We rely on our hearing a great deal day-to-day. From allowing us to communicate with those around, to enjoying activities such as going to watch a film or concert, to even keeping us safe, it is easy to take our hearing for granted. Nevertheless, hearing problems are extremely common. Fortunately, you don’t have to live in a quiet and confusing world.
A hearing exam is a simple and painless experience that can help you determine if what you are hearing is normal, or if there are things that can be done to enable you to hear much better than you can now.
The purpose of a hearing exam isn’t just to determine if you are experiencing some degree of hearing loss. It is also to discover what type of hearing loss you have and how badly your hearing is affected. This will enable us to make a recommendation as to which treatment is likely to be most successful at restoring your hearing to a level where you can enjoy life to the fullest one more.
If you haven’t had a hearing exam before, you can be forgiven for being anxious about what is involved. However, you can rest assured that the process is entirely painless and usually takes less than an hour.
At the start of your exam, we will take a look into your ears to check that there are no blockages that will prevent the hearing test from being performed. This includes large build-ups of wax.
Next, we will ask you about your hearing, how well you feel that you can currently hear and what problems if any, you have noticed. We may also ask you about your lifestyle if we feel that this may have an impact on your hearing. For example, some jobs are carried out in very noisy environments, and a lack of proper safety precautions can have a negative impact on your ability to hear as effectively as possible.
Your medical history forms an important part of your hearing exam too. Medical conditions such as allergies and infections can contribute to hearing loss, not to mention some genetic issues. If your parents experienced hearing loss, then you may be at greater risk of developing the same problem.
The actual hearing test itself is known as an audiogram. This takes between 20 and 30 minutes and involves listening to a series of sounds through a set of headphones and then responding in some way to show that you have heard something. These sounds may vary in pitch and volume and the test is performed in one ear at a time so that we can assess your hearing in each. It is very common for some patients to experience better hearing in one ear than another.
You may also be given speech audiogram testing. This is when you are asked to listen to a series of words through a headphone and repeat back what you have heard. This will determine how well you can hear speech around you.
The treatment we will recommend for hearing loss will depend on what we believe to be causing it. In some cases, there is a simple fix for the problem, such as removing earwax or providing antibiotics for infections that are compromising your hearing. However, in many cases, patients are referred for hearing aids. These are small, electronic devices that are worn in your ear and will make sounds louder and clearer.
There are some other types of solution that may be recommended if patients are unable to obtain an improvement in their hearing through regular hearing aids. These include hearing implants. These are special devices fitted directly to or inside the skull. Finally, if you have severe, permanent hearing loss that isn’t helped by hearing aids, you may be a good candidate for cochlear implants. These work by turning sounds into electrical signals and sending them to part of the inner ear called the cochlea. From here, the signals travel to the brain and are heard as sound.
If you are concerned about your hearing and would like to arrange for a hearing exam with our experienced team, please get in touch with our Southlake office by calling (817) 270-6400 today.