A comprehensive hearing exam consists of:
Otoscopic inspection of your ear canals (a video otoscope allows you to see inside your own ears)
A hearing test conducted in a soundproof room. You will be asked to signal when you hear tones while wearing headphones. Other tests will show if you can tell the difference between words that sound alike, such as fin, pin, tin, and thin. This evaluation is performed by one of our four audiologists or two hearing instrument specialists.
A tympanogram may be done to test the health and function of your eardrums and middle ears.
The cost of a complete hearing evaluation is covered by most insurance companies upon referral from your physician.
If you are unsure if you have a hearing loss and are not sure if a complete evaluation is necessary, a hearing screening can be performed. This is a quick measure of how well you hear each tone to determine if you may benefit from amplification.
An audiogram is a graph that shows how well you heard the different tones that were tested. Along the top of the graph are the frequencies (pitches) that were tested and down the side of the graph shows loudness (in decibels). The softest levels you could hear at each frequency are charted, with the top of the graph indicating better hearing. Normal hearing ranges from 0 to 25 dB for adults.
Hearing loss can be classified into the following categories:
Slight/Minimal Hearing loss (16 to 25 dB HL): May or may not be interfering with communication
Mild Hearing Loss (26 to 40 dB HL): Has difficulty hearing faint or distant speech. Hearing aids are recommended.
Moderate Hearing Loss (41 to 55 dB HL): Understands conversational speech at 3 to 5 feet. Needs hearing aids.
Moderately-Severe Hearing Loss (56 to 70 dB HL): Without amplification, conversation must be very loud to be understood, and there is great difficulty in group discussion.
Severe Hearing Loss (71 to 90 db HL): Without amplification, may hear a loud voice about one foot from the ear. Great difficulty in group discussion.
Profound Hearing Loss (91 db HL and above): May hear some loud sounds, but more aware of vibrations than tonal patterns. Does not rely on hearing as primary channel for communication.