Audiologists May Use These Tests During an Evaluation
The audiologist will look into your ears with an otoscope or a video otoscope (you can see your ear on a monitor screen).
Pure Tone Audiogram
This is a graphic plot of the your thresholds of auditory sensitivity for pure tones . Different pitches are presented. . Hearing level is plotted on a decibel scale on an audiogram. Sounds are tested with presentation by earphones as well as bone conduction, which involves placing a headband on your head. The audiologist will ask you to respond when you hear a tone, first in one ear and then in the other. The graph will be completed and the audiologist can then draw information from the figures to determine the severity of the hearing loss, the type of hearing loss, and make recommendations for possible amplification or rehabilitation.
These tests utilize spoken words and sentences rather than pure tones. Tests are designed to assess sensitivity (threshold) or understanding (intelligibility). You may be asked to repeat words, sentences, or indicate items on a picture board during this test. This information can be useful for fitting hearing aids, determining the severity of a head injury, or for further referrals to other medical specialists.
A tympanogram is a graphic representation of the auditory canal air pressure and eardrum compliance. Impedance is lowest when pressure in the canal equals pressure in the middle ear. Ears can be classified into three basic groups on the basis of the configuration of the tympanogram: a type A which is normal, type B which is flat and shows that there may be fluid in the middle ear space, and type C which reveals negative air pressure in the middle ear space, which can be connected to eustachian tube problems. For this test, the audiologist will place a small soft tip in your ear and you may feel slight pressure and hear a humming sound for a few seconds. Children and the elderly can often suffer problems with fluid in the middle ear space that can affect your hearing.
You may have earwax that has dried up or blocked up the ear canals. The audiologist may remove it with forceps or suction, or advise you to use eardrops to soften the wax so it can drain out.
measures the contraction of the stapedius muscle in the middle ear and this test involves placing a small soft probe tube in each ear, presenting brief loud sounds, and then measuring any changes in compliance.
This stands for evoked auditory brainstem responses: Scalp electrodes measure electrical activity in response to sound clicks. This test involves placing small electrodes onto the head, and using some ear probes to present clicks to one ear. .The response of the nerves in the ear and along to pathway to the brain can be measured and charted. Many people fall asleep during ABR testing!
Electrical activity is measured from a probe tip placed into the ear canal and responses to a large number of clicks are measured. These measurements are useful in identifying certain conditions that affect the inner ear.
You may be asked to subjectively indicate when sounds or voices are uncomfortably loud. This information can be used to determine the presence of hyperacusis or recruitment, for fitting hearing aids, and for other purposes.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
Ssimple probe tip is inserted into the ear and a sound is presented, then the instrument analyzes information related to the function of the inner ear. Patients just need to sit quietly for a few moment and this test is conducted on newborn babies to help find hearing loss as early as possible.
You may be asked to identify a tone or noise that is similar to what you are hearing if you have tinnitus. Usually you are presented with several tones and asked to pick the best match for pitch and volume.
This is a test used to help determine problems with the vestibular system. Patients lie on a chair that reclines and a small probe is placed in the ear, visual goggles are placed on the eyes, and cool or warm water is circulated in the ear canal in a tiny balloon. Measuring eye movements can help pinpoint areas of concern in the balance organ system. Patients can experience some dizziness during this test.
CDP (computerized dynamic posturography)
You will asked to stand in a small booth and measurements of your foot pressure on small platforms will be taken as conditions change, i.e., the booth will move slightly, or the platforms may slowly tip slightly from front to back. This helps the audiologist measure your vestibular balance system compared to your visual balance system.
This can involve one on one sessions to learn how to get the most out of your current hearing ability, learning to use facial and speech cues, working with improving your hearing aid use, or many other rehabilitative aspects of auditory health. Audiologists work with people of all ages and their families to improve their hearing function to the best possible levels.
Audiologists are responsible for programming and maintaining the adjustments for these surgically implanted devices that can provide hearing for people who cannot successfully use a hearing aid.
BAHA (Bone Implanted Hearing Aids)
Audiologists will assist in fitting and adjusting the hearing aid portion of these surgically implanted devices. A small unit is 'buttoned' onto the head behind the ear and provides amplification via bone conducted sound waves.
Intra Operative Monitoring
You may find an audiologist in the operating room, measuring the electrical functioning of the nerves while particulat surgeries are taking place.
Fitting Hearing Aids
About 70 percent of the audiologists in Oregon offer to prescribe and fit hearing aids. This important work is time consuming and can have very positive effects on patients' lives. Audiologists are well trained in how to choose, adjust, and monitor hearing aids of all types.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy
This counseling approach to helping people with tinnitus and hyperacusis has largely become the role of audiologists in this country. Using habituation provided by acoustic therapy, people who have tinnitus can often find improvement in their situation.
Many audiologists volunteer time to provide free screenings at various public events or preschool health fairs, senior fairs, etc. These quick tests are simply provided as a courtesy to try to identify any possible conditions that warrant a visit for a full evaluation.