Hearing loss occurs to most people as they age. Hearing loss can be due to the aging process, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, infections, head or ear trauma, congenital (birth or prenatal) or hereditary factors, diseases, as well as a number of other causes.
Recent data suggests there are over 34 million Americans with some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss often occurs gradually throughout a lifetime. People with hearing loss compensate often without knowing they have hearing loss.
You may have a hearing loss if:
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a Licensed Hearing Healthcare Professional to have a formal hearing evaluation. This hearing test, or audiologic evaluation, is diagnostic in nature. A diagnostic audiologic evaluation is more than just pressing a button when you hear a beep! Rather, an audiologic evaluation allows the Hearing Healthcare Professional to determine the type, nature and degree of your hearing loss. In addition, your sensitivity, acuity and accuracy to speech understanding will be assessed. In addition, the Hearing Healthcare Professional may test for speech understanding at different volume levels and in different simulated environments. This additional testing may be performed in order to provide the Hearing Healthcare Professional with an indication as to how successful of a candidate you might be for amplification.
The hearing evaluation should also include a thorough case history (interview) as well as a visual inspection of the ear canal and eardrum. Additional tests of the middle ear function may also be performed. The results of the evaluation can useful to a physician, if the Hearing Healthcare Professional believes your hearing loss may benefit from medical intervention. Results of the hearing evaluation are plotted on a graph called an audiogram. The audiogram provides a visual view of your hearing test results across various pitches or frequencies, especially the ones necessary for understanding speech (250-8000 Hz).
The audiogram and results from your speech understanding tests are used to create a prescription and program the hearing aids, when so indicated.
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