What is a hearing test?
A hearing test is called an audiometric examination; it is not a screening. Rather the goal of this test is to check the ear canal for any physical problems, and determine if you have any hearing loss, the cause of that loss, if any, the degree and configuration of the loss – one or both ears, and the best treatment options.
Thus several tests will be conducted including:
- A physical examination of the ear canal and ear drum
- A pure tone test that tests the ability to hear different pure tones
- A bone conduction test which test the ability of the middle ear to hear pure tones
- A speech test to determine your ability to understand speech.
- Tympanometry which tests the health of the middle ear and the eardrum
An Audiogram is created from the results of these tests, reveal any hearing loss and its degree, and treatment options if necessary.
Who needs a hearing test?
People between the ages of 18 and 64 should have a hearing test when:
- They struggle to hear when meeting new people and it causes embarrassment
- They are frustrated because you have trouble hearing when speaking with family or co-workers, clients or customers
- Their hearing problem causes arguments with family and friends
- They feel limited by their hearing problem
- They have difficulty hearing when at the movies, or hearing the TV or radio when the volume when the volume is loud enough for others to hear
- They feel their hearing problem is limiting your social or family life
- They have trouble hearing conversations when with family or friends at a noisy restaurant
Hearing loss can happen at any age. It may be gradual or sudden. Most hearing loss is gradual. If you have any of the signs listed, it is in your best interest to get your hearing tested. Denying a problem or delaying dealing with the hearing problem can result in worsening of the condition, and if left untreated can affect your work, health and safety, and your relationships. Difficulty hearing can cause a person to become isolated, disconnected and at risk for other health conditions.
Age-related hearing loss:
Older people often have slowly deteriorating hearing that develops gradually as we age. The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that one in three people in the U.S. between ages 65-74 has hearing loss, and almost 50% of people older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Age- related hearing loss commonly affects both ears, and is most often due to changes in the inner ear or middle ear, or from changes to the nerves that carry sound from the ear to the brain.
Age-related hearing loss can be caused by long-term exposure to loud noise. Some musicians have struggled with hearing problems like Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Sting, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, and Beethoven.
Why does loud music cause hearing loss?
Loud music damages the hair cells in the inner ear. Often the hearing impairment is due to Tinnitus. Tinnitus is where hearing is perceived as a ringing, even when there is only silence.
What else can cause hearing loss?
- Certain medical conditions like depression, heart disease, dementia, sleep apnea have all been linked to hearing loss.
- There are hundreds of over the counter and prescription medications that can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss.
- Temporary hearing loss can be the result of large doses of aspirin, and NSAIDS.
- Drugs that cause permanent hearing loss are called Ototoxic, meaning they damage the sensory hair cells in the inner ear. Ototoxic drugs include some types of chemotherapy including Cisplatin and carboplatin, prescription pain medications like Vicodin and Percocet, and certain types of antibiotics. Some drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure can cause hearing loss. In this case, the loss may be sudden, not gradual.
Can hearing loss be prevented or delayed?
Yes, or at least the progression can be delayed. Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, eating healthy, not smoking and limiting intake of over the counter drugs and taking only the recommended dose.
Consequences of untreated hearing loss can be devastating to physical and mental health, impairing communication and negatively impact relationships and work, safety and health.
Pinehurst Surgical is a multi-specialty clinic comprised of ten specialty centers located in a state of the art surgical facility in Pinehurst, NC. The certified audiologists at our Pinehurst, Raeford, Rockingham, Sanford and Troy offices proudly serve patients in Southern Pines, Fayetteville, Red Spring, Asheboro and Surrounding areas throughout North Caroline, South Carolina and beyond.
Pinehurst Audiology is dedicated to helping address your hearing concerns, improving and maintaining your hearing, and treating without surgery in many cases. Early detection and prevention can keep you active, safe and healthy. Our licensed audiologists are committed to providing the most thoughtful audiology care to patients, and state- of- the- art technology.