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Diagnosis and Treatment of Hearing Loss

Early detection and treatment of hearing loss is crucial. See a hearing care professional immediately for a complete hearing evaluation if you suspect any type of hearing loss. The following tests are typically part of the hearing evaluation.

Audiometric Testing A special machine (audiometer) is used to measure the softest tones you can hear. You will hear various tones/pitches, from low to high, at various levels. The range of pitches tested encompasses those found in everyday speech. You will be asked to raise your hand or press a button when you hear the tones. The hearing care professional will determine, based on your responses, the softest tones you can hear at each pitch and record them on a graph called an audiogram. The audiogram helps identify the type and degree of hearing loss you may have.

Immitance Testing These tests measure the middle ear's ability to conduct sound. They may detect fluid buildup in the middle ear space, a perforation of the ear drum or other problems in the middle ear.

Speech Testing During your evaluation, you will not only be asked to respond to various tones but to listen to and respond to speech, either in the form of words or sentences. This provides the hearing care professional with information regarding your ability to detect and discriminate speech.

Treatment of Hearing Loss

If your hearing care professional determines that your hearing impairment does not originate from a medical problem, which can be treated with medicine or surgery, a hearing aid evaluation can be performed to determine if you are a good candidate to use hearing aids. Although hearing aids do not provide normal hearing to the user, they can help improve a hearing impaired person's ability to communicate effectively.