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Hearing Blog

The importance of a thorough hearing evaluation

April 14, 2021

So how do you know if you have GREAT Hearing Instruments?  How do you get Great Hearing Instruments?  First of all...It starts with a thorough Hearing Discovery with your Hearing Health Care Provider.  After your health history and hearing needs are addressed it is then time to head into the Testing Booth or Testing Room.   A complete hearing test should include pure tones in air & bone, speech discrimination in both quiet and in noise.  Sentence testing. There should be comfort and loudness testing, tympanometry and video otoscopy.  If you have ringing or tinnitus then testing should also be completed to determine if there is a cause and solution to the unwanted head/ear noise. This is special testing...results are quite informative.   Before the hearing test.. if there is ear wax in the canal then your Hearing Health Care Professional should remove the wax.  This can be done with a vacuum, curette or ear flushing machine.  After all,  you want an accurate test...right?  Video Otoscopy is a camera that allows projection of the ear and the health of the ear canal, eardrum, and ossicles (bones) in the middle ear to be seen if the eardrum is healthy and clear.  While we are at it... the external ear is checked for skin cancers and abnormalities.  Video otoscopes can magnify up to 35X thus making a little “spec” of skin cancer quite visible.  We check the ears, cheeks, neck, & scalp with our camera.  Always good to have an extra set of eyes.  

If all the testing is done properly then the results will reveal if you have a medical condition that requires referral to an Ear Nose & Throat Doctor or a Dermatologist.   If there is no underlying medical problem then it is time to discuss technology.    At this point you should have allowed about an 1 1/2 hours for that thorough Evaluation and explanation of your hearing test.   This in-depth test will reveal what technology and style of the hearing instrument will provide you with the best possible speech understanding.  A demonstration of hearing instruments should be standard care along with speech understanding/discrimination tests.  Hearing instruments come in several styles or models.  There are small over the ear hearing aids with a thin tube or wire that run down to the ear canal with a little earbud at the end.  Some also have a receiver or a box on them.  These are better than just the ones that have a tube and a mold.  Putting the speaker in the ear canal provides clear true sound and can also increase power options.  There are instruments that fit entirely in the ear canal and are totally invisible.  Totally automatic with no buttons.  There are some that fit in the canal that fills up your ear like you put your finger in it.  They are a little more visible.  Some fill up the whole inside of the ear.  There are many options.  Starkey builds the only Custom (nothing behind the ear) BlueTooth rechargeable aid to date.  Starkey Hearing Technologies Edge AI hearing instruments provide the most sound processors on the market.  All your environmental sounds are categorized by 8 different types of sounds... such as speech, random noise, transient noise/sudden, speech in speech weighted noise, machine noise, wind noise, and quiet sounds.  These processors are programmed by us to determine the speeds and degree of noise cut that the processors will adapt to as you move about your life.  The hearing instruments have multiple microphones to separate the speech into areas or zones that it comes from and then the gyroscopes in the hearing instruments will provide the computer in the hearing aid a “picture” or “sound scape” as to where you are looking and what you are trying to hear and understand.   Magically the aid can and will adjust.  We.. your Hearing Health Care Provider program the parameters in which the hearing instruments will respond appropriately.   
So do you know if you have Great Instruments?   Have you gotten all of this:  Can you understand to the ability that your hearing test results reveal that you should be able to understand?  There are numbers...percentages.. and this should be explained to you.  This should be explained to you.. and shown to you during your initial consultation and testing appointment.  You should NOT be told after you are fit that “This is as good as it can be”.   That is the point of the hearing test.  It is to determine your degree of loss and ALSO what type of results you will get by wearing hearing instruments.  Different hearing losses and capabilities need different levels of technology.   That is why they make 8 different levels.  It is not about the price.  It may be for you as the consumer.  But it should not be for your Hearing Health Care Professional.  They need to deliver the facts so that you can make an educated decision about the auditory stimulation that you are going to provide to your brain.
To do all this takes time.  We allow a 2 hour block to test and answer questions along with a demonstration of the aids and trying on models.  Why?  Because being thorough..being the best..takes Time.  We Care.  We Care that we give you the very best hearing health care possible.  From the moment you enter our lobby and enjoy a short video on hearing health to exiting our office with a brighter outlook on your future.  We really just care to do the best that we can for you.  If we can help improve your life... just give us a call!   To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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