Comprehensive Hearing Evaluations
Your Comprehensive Hearing Evaluation at Chicago Hearing Care Consists of Three Key Parts:
- In-depth clinical case history related to your ears, hearing and balance symptoms or concerns.
- A test battery (multiple tests that when performed together help pinpoint the right site of lesion (problem) or rule out other conditions). In Audiology, test batteries are the norm in diagnosing hearing disorders. To test your hearing we will examine your ears visually to find any problems in your external ear canal, your inner ear and part of your auditory system with acoustic reflex, otoacoustic emissions, your sound detection with a pure tone hearing test, your discrimination with word tests, and your discrimination and performance in noise with speech in noise tests.
- Results and recommendations: A comprehensive hearing evaluation will include ALL these tests, and the results of all these tests will help us determine where the possible problem lies and what treatment or rehabilitative options are out there for you.
Acoustic Reflex Testing
Acoustic reflex testing will measure the contraction of a small muscle that is located in your middle ear and how it responds to loud noises. Information will be gathered to help locate where the problem is by indicating what level of loudness was necessary to get a response, or if there was an absence of a response. The results of this test will be evaluated as a part of your complete hearing evaluation.
Tympanometry is a test that is able to evaluate the eardrum and the middle ear cavity. In this test, air pressure will be applied to your eardrum and there will be a measure of how well it is able to move back and forth from a resting position. Important information can be gathered about the middle ear from this test, such as: if fluid is behind the ear drum, it will be unable to move when pressure is applied. The results of this test will be evaluated as a part of all of your hearing assessment.
Otoacoustic emissions (OAE's) are sounds that are generated from within your cochlea (inner ear), when it is stimulated by a sound. OAE testing involves inserting a small probe into the ear canal and emitting a soft tone to see if an emission is present. If so, there is a good chance that the hearing is normal or near normal at that frequency. If a patient has hearing loss, it is most likely that an otoacoustic emission will be absent or present but abnormal. This test has significant value when assessing patients who have been exposed to noise, ototoxic drugs, suffer from tinnitus, or are infants who cannot respond to subjective tests.
Pure Tone Audiometry and Word Discrimination Tests
Pure tone audiometry tests your perception of sound at different frequencies. We are interested to find out the softest you can hear in a frequency range from 250 to 8000 Hz. This is the speech frequency range. When this test is completed in each ear, words are presented to test your ability to discriminate speech at soft levels and at levels where it’s expected your understanding will be at its maximum potential, 100%. The results of this test should correlate with the results of your pure tone test; however, in some disorders they don’t. It helps us to better understand the reasons for your complaints and struggles. These results are also evaluated together with the other tests results in order to formulate a diagnosis.
Quick Speech-in-Noise Testing
The Quick Speech-in-Noise (QuickSIN) test can quickly measure how well someone can hear when there is background noise. This test helps us get a better understanding of how well a patient can understand speech when there is noise.