A hearing test allows us to evaluate how your ears function. Cary Audiology provides comprehensive hearing tests in Cary, NC, and nearby locations.
Our services include diagnostic tests that can determine if the hearing loss is due to a medical condition or other factors including noise exposure, genetics, or the normal aging process. All hearing tests performed at Cary Audiology are performed by board-certified audiologists.
The Problem With Untreated Hearing Loss
Did you know that untreated hearing loss deprives the brain of information, which could lead to cognitive decline and impairment? A “feedback loop” exists between hearing and cognition, a connection that signifies the importance of assessing the needs and gaps of the brain as part of a comprehensive hearing loss treatment plan.
Our goal in treating hearing loss is not only to amplify sounds but to help deliver more significant information to the brain. Through comprehensive hearing assessments, we can increase the ease of listening and reduce the cognitive load along the way. Proper hearing aid fitting and understanding how the brain interprets sound is essential in developing a successful and efficient treatment plan.
Hearing Test: What To Expect
We perform two types of hearing tests – diagnostic hearing tests and functional hearing tests.
Diagnostic Hearing Test
Prior to the evaluation, a thorough case history will be obtained and a visual inspection of the ear canal and eardrum will be conducted. Mild and moderate amounts of cerumen (wax) removal can be performed in the office, although typically not covered by insurance. Should there be a severe cerumen impaction, you will be referred to a physician for removal before the evaluation can be completed.
You will be tested in a sound-treated booth. The hearing evaluation will consist of pure tone testing which will measure the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies.
If we are doing both the diagnostic and functional testing at the same time, your sensitivity, acuity, and accuracy to speech understanding will be assessed as well. We may also test your ability to understand speech with competing noise using a recorded Speech in Noise test.
Additional tests of middle ear function may also be performed. These are used to evaluate the status of the pressure in your middle ear, movement of the eardrum and bones in your middle ear, reflexes, and your Eustachian tube function.
After the evaluation, we will review and interpret the results for you, as well as answer any questions you may have. If there is any indication of a medical condition, we will refer you to a physical for medical management. Otherwise, we will discuss treatment options, which could include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, communication strategies, hearing protection, or tinnitus management.
Functional Hearing Assessment
The human ears receive sound, but the hearing process is not limited to the ears. The brain plays an integral role in the hearing process which is why when there is an issue with hearing, the response of the brain is expected to change.
A functional hearing assessment (FHA) helps audiologists understand how a patient hears in the real world. An FHA provides a more detailed picture of how a person communicates, from the ears to the brain. A person with hearing loss may endure much more than just hearing in complicated listening situations; he or she may also have memory issues, may feel that they get distracted easily, experience social anxiety, or have the need to withdraw from social situations.
Functional hearing assessments will help us better understand hearing concerns and provide a wider reach on how to address them.
Hearing Test FAQs
Can I test my own hearing?
Technically, yes, you can test your own hearing. There are various online hearing tests out there that can initially give you an idea of your hearing health. However, there are various aspects of testing that online hearing tests cannot fully cover, unlike one-on-one hearing testing with an audiologist.
The results of online hearing tests are not 100% accurate and would still need to be verified with an audiologist for further testing and discussion.
Is functional hearing assessment painful?
Just like traditional hearing tests, a functional hearing assessment is painless.
Are FHAs covered by insurance?
Due to the complexity of this hearing assessment, it is not covered by health insurance.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for a hearing test?
How long does a functional hearing test take?
Functional hearing assessments are more similar to a comprehensive hearing assessment compared to traditional hearing tests. Each FHA is unique, so there is no definite time for how long a test will take for each individual. Typically, a functional hearing assessment may take between 1-2 hours.
What Is Speech-In-Noise Testing?
Many individuals have difficulty understanding speech in social situations or anywhere there is background noise. A basic audiogram, or hearing test, will not predict how an individual hears in a noisy environment. Speech in noise testing is part of our functional hearing assessment and gives us important information on how an individual processes in these difficult environments.
What is Cognivue and how can it help people with hearing loss?
Cognivue testing allows our team to provide the best comprehensive hearing loss treatment plans and enables us to better collaborate with general practitioners and fellow medical professionals.
We acknowledge the strong link between hearing and cognitive function, hence our goal is to address cognitive issues alongside hearing loss.
Various research studies have established a strong connection between untreated hearing loss and cognitive decline. The World Health Organization has even highlighted hearing loss as the most significant risk factor for cognitive decline. That being said, we believe that it is highly imperative for patients to have access to information about cognitive decline and dementia along with modifiable risk factors behind them.
Measuring Cognitive Functioning
What is Cognivue and how can it help people with hearing loss?
Cognivue is an innovative way to gauge cognitive functioning using a series of simple tests navigated by a single rotary control. Cognivue tests account for motor difficulties while checking a patient’s cognitive function.
Cognivue testing is not focused on IQ tests or questionnaires that have right or wrong answers. Initially, Cognivue presents a series of exercises where an individual’s motor skills and visual acuity are measured, also referred to as calibration exercises.
Once the calibration exercises are completed, another set of exercises is performed to measure various aspects of cognition including word perception, shape perception, word memory, and shape memory.
Hearing Tests in Cary, NC
Cary Audiology Associates in Cary, NC is proud to offer comprehensive audiological evaluations for anyone with hearing concerns, regardless of age. We use Cognivue cognitive testing as part of our Functional Hearing Assessment to provide a higher level of care.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!