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Are you concerned about hearing loss? Do you want to get your hearing tested? Hearing services are a fully integrated part of our practice. Our eyes and ears combine visual and auditory data every minute of every day.
This is essential to normal function. Significant vision and hearing loss often occur together. As part of your workup, our staff may perform a quick screening to see how your eyes and ears are functioning together. Based on that screening, your doctor may suggest a more complete exam. The hearing screening is part of your visit. There is no charge. It is included for every patient every year.
What’s involved in a Hearing Evaluation?
Chris Adams, a licensed hearing instrument specialist at Access Eye, will perform the complimentary hearing evaluation. He will first check your ear canals to check for earwax or for reasons for an immediate referral to an Ear Nose Throat Specialist.
Chris will then test your hearing threshold, using Air Conduction Frequency Testing. Chris will play pure tone sounds that can be heard through earphones that you wear. You will simply push a button when you hear the tone. This enables Chris to graph your hearing loss, if any.
At Access Eye, the full evaluation involves not only Air Conduction, but also Speech and Bone Conduction Testing.
Why is hearing screening important to me?
Hearing loss affects between 25% and 40% of individuals age 65 and older and between 40% and 66% of individuals age 75 and older. Most hearing loss is related to prebycusis (the gradual loss of hearing that happens to most of us as we age.) Other risk factors include: exposure to regular, excessive noise; cerumen (ear wax) impaction; ototoxic medications; chronic otitis media and diseases that affect sensorineural hearing. *
Hearing loss can lead to miscommunication, social withdrawal, confusion, depression and deterioration in functional status. *
* The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University, College of Nursing.
Hearing Testing FAQs
What is the purpose of testing for central auditory processing?
Your ear drum and canal are essential to receiving sounds from the world around you, but they are just the first stage of the hearing process. It is ultimately the job of the brain to make sense of the information that is being transmitted from auditory nerves in the ear. If there is a problem with the hearing center of the brain, it may be hard for you to understand speech or differentiate sounds. Tests for central auditory processing check the health of this neurological system.
Testing will evaluate your ability to listen, understand and remember. With a healthy auditory system, you should be able to remember the sequence and relative distance of sounds (auditory sequential memory and figure-ground perception). The hearing center should successfully filter out extraneous noise to focus on conversations. In addition, the tests gauge the ability of the ears to coordinate with each other and integrate the disparate sounds each receives. You should also be able to detect rhythms and other patterns in sound, and discern pitch and intonation in language.
Do I need a hearing test if I feel dizzy?
Your ear does more than allow you to hear sound. Structures of the inner ear also make it possible for you to maintain proper balance. Vertigo is a type of dizziness that can be caused by damage to the inner ear. Meniere’s disease causes both hearing loss and vertigo, and can be diagnosed with the help of a hearing test.
A vision specialist is the ideal professional to conduct a vestibular evaluation, which can determine if damage to the inner ear is affecting balance and causing sensations of dizziness. That is because this particular test measures movement of the eyes. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the eyes actually provide a window into whether the balance function of the inner ear is working properly. The inner ear is in constant contact with your eye muscles, ensuring your vision stays in focus whenever the upper body moves. Without this coordination, your eyesight would resemble an old Super 8 movie, with jarring changes in the picture projected on your internal “screen.”
How soon should children be tested for hearing?
Your newborn likely received his or her first hearing test in the maternity ward. It’s one of several screening tests that are routinely performed soon after birth. Techniques commonly used are otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) and/or auditory brainstem response (ABR) tests. Rest assured, your baby almost certainly didn’t notice a thing.
Early testing is important to determine if intervention is needed to ensure your child’s language and other aspects of development are not impacted by problems with hearing. Beyond the hospital stay, children may be tested for hearing if a doctor or parent notices there may be an issue with processing sound and understanding language. Toddlers can be tested with the use of headphones or in a soundproof booth. The child’s reaction to sounds from various directions and at various frequencies is observed, and the resulting data help the audiologist determine if there is a deficiency that needs to be addressed.
To learn more about testing and diagnosis of hearing loss, along with available treatment options, contact the experienced professionals at Access Eye today. Call 540-371-2020 or email us to schedule an appointment at 4516 Plank Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22407.