Many of us routinely visit our doctor and dentist for regular check-ups to assess our current health, watch for any changes to our health and to decide on the treatment that may be needed. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case when it comes to our hearing. We may get those routine hearing tests at school when we’re kids, but then what? Professional audiological evaluations are an important part of managing your total wellness. These hearing tests can identify hearing loss and similar conditions early and manage them effectively.
During a hearing evaluation, to assess your hearing, the hearing health care provider will take a detailed history, complete an examination of the ear and then conduct a series of tests. There are several important things you’ll learn from a professional hearing evaluation.
Is there hearing loss?
One of the most important things you’ll learn during the evaluation is whether or not you have hearing loss. You may not even realize that you’re missing bits and pieces of sound if it’s a low-level loss, but early identification and treatment can help prevent further loss and related health issues. There are also several types of hearing loss including conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss that your hearing health care professional can identify.
The degree and configuration of hearing loss
Hearing loss is as unique as each individual affected by it. It may be identified as slight, mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound. It may be high-frequency hearing loss or low-frequency hearing loss. It may be in just one ear or across both ears. During your professional hearing evaluation, your provider can identify the extent and configuration of hearing loss.
The cause of the hearing loss
Over the course of your evaluation, your hearing health care provider will be gathering a large amount of information through your history, the initial examination of the ear canal and the hearing tests themselves. All of this information can help determine the actual cause of any loss identified. Is there a simple and correctable reason for the loss, such as earwax build-up? Is there an underlying medical condition that may be causing the loss and should be treated by a physician? Is there a noise-induced hearing loss that should be managed to prevent further loss? It may take further tests to determine a cause.
Options to treat the hearing loss
One of the most important things you’ll learn at a professional hearing evaluation when hearing loss is confirmed is treatment options. Research now confirms that untreated hearing loss can have a range of negative impacts to our health including reduced social interaction and increased risk of cognitive decline. It’s crucial that as soon as a loss is diagnosed, it is treated. If the loss is conductive and caused by an infection or similar condition, this may include medical treatment to correct the problem. In many cases, treatment may include a hearing aid. In this case, work with your hearing health care provider to identify the best hearing aid and hearing aid features for your lifestyle and get it properly fitted and adjusted for long-term use.
Hearing is an important and delicate part of our total wellness. Getting regular professional hearing evaluations can help protect it, identify hearing loss early and manage that hearing loss to help prevent further loss. Don’t wait! Schedule your evaluation today.