Did you know that an audiologist can be helpful even if you don’t have trouble hearing?
A hearing test is an important tool for measuring hearing. Audiologists, who are experts in hearing, also use hearing tests to look for signs of ear infections, check the health of the hearing nerve, and look for signs of noise damage.
Here are five signs that you should see an audiologist for a hearing test:
- Ringing in the ears – Also called tinnitus, ringing in the ears can be an early sign of damage to the ear or hearing nerve. A hearing test can help catch signs of damage early.
- People are mumbling – You can hear that someone is talking to you, but the words aren’t clear. Just like keys on a piano, your hearing is made up of different pitches. If you can hear at some pitches and not others, it can become difficult to understand speech.
- Difficulty hearing in noisy places – Many people can hear well in quiet places but have more trouble hearing in noisy places or in groups. This can be due to hearing loss, but can also be related to auditory processing, or how your brain understands sound.
- History of loud noise exposure – Do you work around noisy machinery? Do you go hunting or to the shooting range? Do you listen to loud music? We live in a noisy world, and those sounds can cause damage to the ear over time. A hearing test can let you know if your ears are showing signs of noise damage.
- Concern from family or friends – Family members and close friends are often the first people to notice changes in hearing. They may notice that a loved one asks for repetition frequently, seems unusually quiet or withdrawn in social situations, or has the TV volume turned up. Have you noticed these signs in anyone that you care about?
What happens during the hearing test?
At Altru, all of our hearing tests are performed by Doctors of Audiology who specialize in testing and treatment of hearing problems. During the hearing test, the audiologist will:
- Check for excess earwax
- Check for signs of an ear infection or fluid in the ears
- Measure hearing at different pitches
- Measure speech understanding
What happens after the hearing test?
Recommendations depend on what the results of the hearing test show. Not all options will be right for everyone. Your audiologist can help find the best choice for you.
Recommendations may include:
- Hearing protection – Everyone should use hearing protection when exposed to loud sounds. Your audiologist can talk with you about different types of hearing protection, including custom earplugs.
- Hearing aids – If the test shows hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend hearing aids. Your audiologist can answer any questions you may have about hearing aids and can let you know what type may be right for you.
- Medical referral – Sometimes the hearing test may suggest a medical problem with the ear that should be evaluated by a physician. The audiologist may recommend seeing your primary doctor or an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT).
- Tips for reducing tinnitus and improving communication – The audiologist can provide suggestions to try at home to help you hear your best and to help turn down ringing in the ears.
How do I schedule a hearing test?
Hearing tests are available at our Grand Forks, Devils Lake, Cavalier, Park River, Crookston, and Roseau locations. To schedule an appointment, call 701.780.6204, or schedule online through MyChart or Open Scheduling.