What to expect when you have your hearing evaluated as an older adult.
When was the last time you got your hearing checked? Scheduling a hearing test is important for… Click To Tweet
When was the last time you had your hearing checked? The last time I had my hearing tested by a Doctor of Audiology was when I was a teenager in high school. That was a very long time ago. Lately, I’ve noticed that I don’t always hear clearly; sometimes I miss what people are saying and have to ask them to repeat. And I’ve also been experiencing where my left ear hears a sound that my right ear did not. Since age is a factor in hearing loss, I decided to make an appointment with an audiologist and determine if I really had a hearing loss problem.
When I arrived for my appointment, the audiologist greeted me and took me to a sound proof room. We talked about what I had been experiencing and my concerns. She told me that it was a good choice I made to get my hearing evaluated because just like other bodily functions, hearing diminishes over time. The doctor explained that there are four factors that contribute to hearing loss: Age, Heredity, Environment, and Disease. How do those four factors relate to me? Well, I am getting older (Age). I have been to a few VERY LOUD concerts over the years and probably my sound doesn’t need to be that LOUD when I am listening to music through my headphones (environment). My parents both wear hearing aides (heredity). And I can say that I haven’t had any diseases that have affected my hearing. So, I was looking at 3 out of four possible causes to the problems I was experiencing.
The doctor was very thorough in her examination. She explained in detail the test she was going to administer, an Audiometry, Comprehensive, Threshold Evaluation and Speech Recognition Test. Headphones were placed over my ears and I was given a microphone. Each time I heard a sound, I was to say “yes” when I heard it. The audiologist announced first which ear would be tested and then began administering the sounds. To me, I felt like I heard the sounds pretty good but I got a little worried when there was a big lapse between lower sounds in my right ear. The test lasted approximately 7-8 minutes.
The doctor returned to the room and said she was going to conduct one more test, a Tympanometry Test. This involved looking in to my ear drum to see if there were any obstructions, damage, or infection. The doctor determined that my right ear drum was a little inflamed and asked if I was sick. I told her I had had a cold about a month prior. She shrugged her shoulders that I interpreted to mean that that probably didn’t matter.
When the testing was complete, the doctor went over my results. My hearing was consistent for my age with no real problems. My right ear was indeed more “hearing impaired” than my left but not enough to require any devices at this time. She ended my visit by sharing some suggestions on steps that anyone could take to hear more effectively:
1. Try not to speak from another room.
2. Try not to speak with your back to the person with the hearing deficit.
3. Try to speak more slowly.
4. Try to speak distinctly
5. Try not to speak in competition with other sounds (TV, radio, running water)
6. Get the attention of the person with the hearing deficit before speaking.
7. Try to speak face to face.
8. Remove obstructions while speaking (hand in front of face, cigarette in mouth, food in mouth, etc.)
9. Remember to be patient
As I was leaving, she encouraged me (and my husband) to have our hearing tested as a regular component of our overall healthy maintanence routine.
I was relieved and satisfied with my results. It was a half hour well spent. I have already starting incorporating some of the better hearing tips the doctor shared like refraining from speaking from another room and speaking face-to-face which has made a difference in my ability to hear. And I don’t freak out when my left ear hears something my right doesn’t because I know at least at this time, there is no significant problem.