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Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations

The diagnostic hearing evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present, and if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It also may provide insight in to the cause of the hearing loss as well as provide guidance for the audiologist in making appropriate treatment recommendations.

The diagnostic hearing evaluation consists of a variety of tests to determine the unique aspects of your hearing loss, as well as the level at which you can detect and understand speech. The diagnostic hearing evaluation will be performed by one of our audiologists, using equipment called an audiometer in a room called a sound booth. This evaluation can be conducted on people of any age, from newborn infants to seniors.

A diagnostic hearing evaluation may include the following tests:

  • Air conduction testing
  • Bone conduction testing
  • Speech discrimination testing
  • Tympanometry or acoustic immittance testing
  • Otoacoustic emissions (OAE)

The diagnostic hearing evaluation is covered by most health insurance policies, though some insurance policies require a referral from your primary care physician. You may contact our office to determine if a referral is required.

Why a Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation is Important

Diagnostic hearing evaluations identify hearing loss, and give your audiologist important information to help determine the best course of action for treatment. Some types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, so it's important that these types of hearing losses be ruled out before hearing aids or other treatments are considered.

If it is determined that you could benefit from hearing aids, the diagnostic hearing evaluation helps your audiologist know which hearing aids will be most appropriate for your needs.

What Can I Expect During a Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation?

The evaluation will probably last about 30 to 40 minutes in length. You will be asked to respond to tones and speech signals during the evaluation. It is an easy and painless process.

Your audiologist will review the result of your evaluation, discuss treatment options including hearing aids if appropriate and answer any questions that you may have.

Because hearing loss affects every member of the family, you are invited to bring a family member or friend to your appointment. It can be helpful for them to understand how hearing loss might impact your ability to hear in different listening situations.

Before your appointment, a complete medical history will be completed and the audiologist will want to hear about any complaints you have about your hearing. He or she will pay special attention to any concerns you have about exposure to noise, tinnitus, and balance problems. It can be helpful to bring a list of any medications and supplements you are taking with you to your appointment.

The diagnostic hearing evaluation is a good chance to establish a relationship with your audiologist. Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions. You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.