A diagnostic hearing exam is the first step in determining your hearing capability. If you have a hearing loss, it will detail the extent, type, and specifics of your particular hearing loss. The diagnostic hearing exam consists of a variety of tests to determine the unique aspects of your hearing loss, as well as the level at which you can detect and understand speech.
A diagnostic hearing evaluation may include the following tests:
- Air conduction testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech testing
- Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) testing
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing
- Tympanometry or acoustic immittance testing
Why a Diagnostic Hearing Exam is Important
Diagnostic hearing exams identify hearing loss, and give your audiologist important information to help determine the best course of action for treatment. Some types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, so it’s important that these types of hearing losses be ruled out before hearing aids or other treatments are considered. If it is determined that you could benefit from hearing aids, the diagnostic hearing evaluation helps your audiologist know which hearing aids will be most appropriate for your needs.
What Can I Expect During a Diagnostic Hearing Exam?
You should allow for time for discussion with the audiologist to review test results, and ask questions. If the determination is made that you need hearing aids, allow for sufficient time to discuss your options.
Otoacoustic Emission Testing (OAE)
OAE’s are sounds originating in the cochlea, specifically from the outer hair cells, that propagate through the middle ear and then into the ear canal where they are measured with a sensitive microphone system. These emissions are an objective measure used to evaluate cochlea function, specifically outer hair cell performance, are pre-neural and not influenced by the state of the auditory (8th) nerve. A diagnostic hearing test provides far more information and is the test recommended by physicians and Ear, Nose and Throat specialists. A full diagnostic test tells us whether a hearing loss is permanent or temporary, and provides information as to where the loss is located (eg. In the inner ear, the ear canal or the middle ear). A full test will include an assessment of eardrum movement and also of hearing for speech. A full diagnostic test is the only way to accurately assess whether hearing aids are the best choice for a patient or whether their hearing loss can be treated medically. A full hearing test is like any other medical assessment which physicians use to help form a diagnosis. At Rudra Speech & Hearing Centre, we believe that our patients deserve the best in hearing care and therefore we always recommend a full diagnostic hearing test before proceeding with any ear management. If an individual prefers a free hearing screening, we are pleased to provide that as well.