If you’re contemplating hearing aids, you first will need a consultation with a trained audiologist. Audiologists are experts in hearing loss, diagnostic testing and hearing aid devices. Here’s what to expect from our audiologist when you visit us at Georgetown Ear, Nose & Throat Center.
About one third of Americans 65 and over have some noticeable degree of hearing loss. It impacts how they interact with other people, work and even think.
To improve the perception, clarity and volume of sounds from the world around us, people should receive professional hearing tests at least once a year. This will help the provider determine the cause of their hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss occurs when something in or around the ear is preventing sound from reaching the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear structure– the cochlea – is damaged or cannot communicate well with the auditory processing part of the brain.
Evaluation with a licensed audiologist begins with a discussion of symptoms. Examples are limited ability to understand speech in a crowded environment, such as a party, and difficulty hearing children’s and higher pitched women’s voices. Most people with hearing loss also keep their TVs at very high volume and frequently ask those around them to repeat words or phrases in conversation.
After a discussion of symptoms, the audiologist will visually inspect each hearing canal with a lighted otoscope. This examination reveals the presence of cerumen (ear wax) or drainage and the structure of the eardrum. This examination is especially can reveal blockages that cause conductive hearing loss.
After this, the hearing patient undergoes a series of painless tests to include:
- Pure tone testing which sends sounds of varying volume and pitch into the ear canal via headphones (the patient responds to hearing them by raising his hand)
- Acoustic reflex test which measures muscular reaction to a series of tones
- Speech recognition–also done with headphones–which evaluates how well the patient hears a series of words spoke at various volumes
- Tympanometry, which is a test in which a puff of air is sent into the ear canal to measurethe movement of the eardrum in response
Based on the results of your hearing tests, your audiologist may advise you to wear hearing aids in one or both ears. Hearing aids come in many styles.The best audiologists offer devices from a range of manufacturers and do not deal in just one brand or design.
Most people with age-related hearing loss use behind-the-ear, or BTE, hearing aids, which have a sound receiver that rests on top of the ear. These work best for reception and amplification of sounds. Mini-BTE hearing aids have the receiver directly in the ear canal.
The fit of BTEs varies. Open fit BTE hearing aids have a smaller in-ear piece that is narrow and avoids the plugged feeling people can experience with traditional behind the ear devices.
Additionally, there are in the ear (ITE) and in the canal hearing (ITC) aids. ITE devices rest just outside the ear canal. ITC devices do just what the name implies: they reside in the ear canals themselves. All these devices work well for children and adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Education on Keeping Your Best Hearing
As you continue in your relationship with your audiologist, you will learn the best ways to preserve your natural hearing and also how to listen and communicate well in noisy environments. And, of course, you will receive your annual hearing check-up and are welcome to consult with your audiologist at any time during the year about hearing questions and concerns.
Hearing Aid Doctor Near You in Georgetown, Texas
At Georgetown Ear, Nose & Throat, our audiologist is Abed Mueed. She has graduate-level training and experience in hearing evaluations and devices. She works closely with our onsite otolaryngologist, Dr. Scott William Franklin, to ensure adult and pediatric patients have healthy, functional hearing.
Call us today at (512) 869-0604to learn more about hearing aids or to arrange a hearing examination or request your visit here. We look forward to serving you!