Hearing loss can affect anyone at any age and many times hearing problems go unnoticed. An estimated 37.5 million adult U.S. citizens have hearing difficulties. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss. Current smokers have a 70% higher risk of having hearing loss. Patients with untreated hearing loss are three times more likely to experience a fall and experience depression and social isolation at increased rates. Having a baseline hearing test can help you catch and manage issues earlier, leading to improved overall health. Trinity Health offers a range of hearing tests to meet the needs of all ages.
When you have your hearing tested, you will be under the care of qualified professionals at all times. We use an audiogram, which is a graph to document results from the hearing evaluation. It demonstrates how softly a person can hear certain sounds. The graph shows frequencies (pitches) and loudness (decibels).
Behavioral Hearing Tests
Visual Reinforcement Audiometry: For children ages 5 months to 2 years. The child is taught to turn their head to a reinforcing toy or video each time they hear a sound.
Conditioned Play Audiometry: For children ages 2 to 5 years. The child is taught to play a game (throw a block in a bucket or put a peg in a board) each time they hear a sound.
Conventional Audiometry: For children ages 5 through adulthood. The individual presses a button or raises their hand each time a sound is heard. This test determines the softest sounds the individual can hear for a variety of sounds at each ear.
Speech Testing: The individual is asked to repeat a list of words in quiet to determine optimum performance in a controlled setting. Speech testing with background noise may also be completed to determine how well an individual hears in noise.
Tympanometry: Assesses the health and function of the middle ear system. The patient does not have to respond during this procedure. A soft probe is placed into the ear.
Acoustic Reflex Measurement: Assesses the involuntary contraction of a muscle in the middle ear in response to loud sounds. A soft probe is placed in one ear canal and a foam earphone in the other.
Otoacoustic Emission Tests
Otoacoustic emission testing assesses the function of the sensory hearing cells within the cochlea, or inner ear. A soft probe is placed in the ear. The patient does not have to respond; otoacoustic emissions can be measured while the patient is awake or asleep.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) is a special test that determines hearing abilities while a child or adult sleeps. Band-aid like electrodes are placed on the forehead and ears. If a child cannot sleep soundly for this procedure, sedation may be needed to obtain accurate results.
The audiologists at Trinity Health provide counseling regarding the type and degree of hearing loss, the effects of the hearing loss on the individual and the family, and management options immediately following testing.