Auditory Testing: The Key to Early Management of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss Management in AmericaDo you experience difficulty when listening to your friends as they speak? Or perhaps you feel like you are often left out of conversations due to muffled sounds in the environment?

If you experience hearing difficulties, then it is advisable to visit a specialist who can perform tests to measure ear function. Some people are hesitant to consult an audiologist despite persistent hearing difficulties because they fear that other obscure disorders may also be detected. However, reasons, an early consultation with an auditory specialist allows immediate workup and management to prevent progression of hearing loss. Personalized auditory exams will also allow localization and measurement of hearing deficits.

Vulnerability of the Human Ear

The ear can be divided into three large sections, namely the outer, middle and inner ear. Each division is comprised of fragile components that are susceptible to injury. Damage to the external ear due to infection, trauma and obstruction will result in a conductive hearing loss. This occurs since sound waves are unable to travel freely due to the presence of a barrier.

Pathology of the inner ear regions and adjacent nerves may also lead to sensorineural hearing loss. This condition occurs since the nerves are unable to transmit auditory signals to the brain. Hence, the stimulus cannot be interpreted since it is not processed by the brain.

Specialized Hearing Tests

Different hearing tests may be performed based on your clinical manifestations. Bedside testing is initially done with the use of tuning forks to assess hearing capacity. Weber and Rinne tests are done to lateralize the hearing deficit.

Audiometry is a specialized exam that enables measurement of hearing at specific frequencies. This involves testing your capacity to hear whispers and low pitch sounds at varying distances from the ear. A bone oscillator is also utilized to test for bone conduction.

Detection of early signs of hearing loss is crucial to avoid permanent auditory impairment. Hence, you must undergo an early hearing test to determine the need for hearing aids and devices.