Diagnostic Audiologic Evaluations
If you have been referred for a diagnostic audiologic evaluation, it means that hearing loss needs to be ruled out or further examined. The diagnostic audiologic evaluation may be indicated for individuals who did not pass an initial hearing screening.
The evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present, and if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It also may provide insight in to the cause of the hearing loss as well as provide guidance in making appropriate treatment recommendations.
What Tests Will Be Done?
The specific tests done during the evaluation will depend on the patient's and what is known already about their hearing status. The various tests will determine the degree of hearing loss, the type of hearing loss, and the conditions of the ear canal and middle ear. They also determine if the hearing loss is conductive (middle or outer ear problem) or sensorineural (inner ear problem or central processing difficulty of the brain).
A diagnostic audiologic evaluation includes pure-tone testing, bone-conduction testing, and speech testing.
Pure-tone Air and Bone Conduction Testing
Pure-tone air conduction testing determines the quietest tones that a person can hear at different frequencies, both low and high. Bone conduction testing is similar to pure-tone air conduction testing. A different type of headphone is used during bone conduction testing, and the results help the specialist determine if the hearing loss is originating from the outer/middle ear or from the inner ear.
A speech reception threshold (SRT) test is often used to confirm the results of a pure-tone test. This test determines the lowest level at which the patient can recognize words or speech stimuli.
An otoscopy (examining the ear canal) and tympanometry (test of the middle ear) may also be performed to determine the health of the ear canal and the middle ear.
Along with the evaluation you should set enough time aside to review the results with your specialist. They can interpret the tests for you, answer your questions, provide you with information and referrals as needed, as well as begin planning for treatment, if indicated.
Never hesitate to ask for clarification or further information on anything you do not understand.