If your audiologist in Katy has recommended a hearing evaluation and you are wondering why there isn’t just one test instead of a whole series, blame it on anatomy. Your ear is made up of three different parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. They work together to ensure you hear effectively, but damage can occur in any of these sections and lead to hearing loss. Treatment will vary depending upon which part(s) of the ear are affected; determining this requires multiple hearing tests in Katy, because each test focuses on a specific and different part of your ears.
While it may be frustrating and inconvenient to submit to a series of tests, doing so is in your own best interests for a variety of reasons.
The Importance of Hearing Tests
Roughly one in five Texans experiences hearing loss. Because the condition develops gradually, many don’t even recognize the problem for some time. Often a spouse or family member will be the first to say something. Hearing tests in Katy are the best way to detect a problem, and are essential for treatment. It’s not an issue you should ignore; untreated hearing loss is linked to a number of physical, social, and cognitive health conditions, including:
- Irritability and anger
- Stress and anxiety
- Social withdrawal
- Isolation and loneliness
- Reduced mental alertness
- Impaired memory
- Poor job performance
- Cognitive decline and dementia
Your Katy audiologist recommends routine hearing tests once you have reached the age of 50 regardless of whether or not you believe you are suffering an impairment.
Katy Hearing Tests
Yes, you’ll probably be required to take several types of hearing tests. But there is nothing to worry about; they are painless and completely safe. Most tests are administered in a soundproof booth and the results – which indicate your hearing ability at different frequencies – are charted on an audiogram. You may be given any of the following:
- Air Conduction Test. Also known as pure tone audiometry, this test requires you to raise a hand, push a button, or give a verbal reply in response to tones that vary in volume and frequency. Your responses determine how well you can hear at different frequencies, an indication of whether damage to your hearing is affecting your outer, middle, or inner ear.
- Bone Conduction Test. Bone conduction testing is similar, but instead of wearing headphones, a small device is placed behind your ears. It emits vibrations designed to stimulate the cochlea. Your response indicates how well sound travels through your ears.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR). ABR testing utilizes electrodes attached to your head, scalp or earlobes. A series of clicking noises is sent through a pair of headphones you will be given, and the electrodes measure your brainwave activity in response to these sounds. ABR testing is particularly effective at measure hearing loss occurring in the inner ear.
- Speech Testing. Speech, or word recognition, testing measures your speech reception abilities. You are given a series of words and phrases and asked to repeat them back to your tester. The volume level will vary, and testing is administered in both quiet and noisy backgrounds.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs). In an OAE test, a probe containing a microphone and speaker is placed inside your ear canal and sound is generated. This stimulates the inner ear and causes the microscopic hair cells of the cochlea to vibrate in response, producing their own faint sound. When hearing loss is greater than 25-30 decibels, no sound will be produced.
Contact your audiologist in Katy audiologist for more information on hearing tests or to schedule an appointment.