Richmond Hearing Doctors provides various services to assess the hearing abilities of the ear. As Audiologists, our first priority is determining IF there is hearing loss, how much, and what may be the cause of it. Depending on the results, appropriate recommendations can be made and this may not always be a hearing aid! The following tests provide a comprehensive evaluation of the parts of the ear that make hearing possible.
- Pure Tone Audiometry is what most people know as the hearing test. It is used to determine the presence or absence of hearing loss as well as the type and severity of the hearing loss. It is graphed on an audiogram marking the softest sound heard for each ear at each frequency/pitch.
- Speech Audiometry uses words and/or sentences to determine how softly words can be heard and most importantly, how clearly speech is understood. This can be done in quiet or with background noise. Speech understanding is most often scored as a percentage.
- Tympanometry is used to measure the function of the eardrum (tympanic membrane). Air pressure in the ear canal is varied to test the condition and mobility (movement) of the eardrum.
- Acoustic Reflex Response is a test of the middle ear muscles. The muscles in a normal middle ear contract or pull on the bones in this space in reaction to loud sounds. An acoustic reflex measurement is used to determine if the muscles are working as expected.
- Otoacoustic Emission testing (most often referred to as OAEs) is used to measure the function of the inner ear. OAEs are faint acoustical signals that emit from the outer hair cells located in the cochlea of the inner ear in response to presented stimuli. When certain sounds are presented to ear, the ear produces another sound that can be measured. The presence of OAEs is associated with at least near normal hearing.
Most, if not all, of these tests will be conducted on each new patient. This gives a complete look at how sound travels through the ear. Certain results may require a referral for further testing. Some results may lead to the recommendation for hearing aids. But all results will be fully explained by your Audiologist.