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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation

Hearing loss is typically a slow insidious process. Many people with hearing loss are unsure of the severity of the problem. Our clinic is designed to perform comprehensive hearing evaluations using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques. Our clinic is also the only clinic in the region staffed entirely by doctors of audiology. By receiving an accurate evaluation by the highly trained professionals at Hearing & Balance Doctors, our patients receive the highest level of care.

What Happens During A Hearing Evaluation

A typical hearing evaluation includes a check of your eardrum mobility (tympanometry), a test of your hearing ability across a range of frequencies (audiometry), and often a test of the inner ear hair cells (otoacoustic emissions). Testing is performed in quiet sound booths with little background noise or echo. Evaluations are easy and painless. Following your evaluation, test results will be thoroughly discussed with one of our doctors. A customized treatment plan will be collaboratively created with one of our doctors to help you achieve your hearing goals. Plan on approximately 60 minutes for the entire visit.

Arriving At Our Hearing Clinic

Prior to your test, you will be asked to fill out some brief paperwork. We will also collect your insurance information and your referral (when necessary). One of our doctors will also take a thorough case history and discuss your unique needs and concerns. We always recommend that a close family member or friend attend your appointment with you. This not only helps you feel more at ease, but can be important if important financial decisions need to be made (for example, if your treatment plan includes the purchase of hearing aids).

Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation

There are a variety of tests that could potentially be a part of your evaluation. Below are some of the possible tests you may encounter.

Pure tone air conduction audiometry – This is the standard “hearing test” that evaluates an individual’s ability to hear across a range of frequencies. The test is conducted in a special sound booth with the patient wearing headphones or foam earbuds. This test helps to determine the severity of a hearing loss and is useful in helping to determine the cause, or etiology, of the hearing loss.

Bone conduction audiometry – This test is similar to pure tone audiometry, but the test is performed using a bone oscillator that sits behind the patient’s ear. The sound is transmitted through the bone of the skull to the inner ear. This test helps to differentiate whether a hearing loss originates in the middle or inner ear.

Acoustic immittance test – This is a test of the mobility of the eardrum. It helps to diagnose fluid behind the eardrum, perforations of the eardrum, and issues of the small bones that attach to the eardrum.

Acoustic reflex testing – The acoustic reflex is a reflexive tensing of the eardrum in response to loud sounds. The presence of a reflex suggests not only that the sound was perceived but also that the neural reflex pathways are intact.

Otoacoustic emissions – There are two types of otoacoustic emissions (OAEs): distortion product and transient evoked. Both types test the function of the outer hair cells of the inner ear. Damage to these hair cells accounts for the vast majority of all hearing losses. This test helps to properly diagnose the origin of the hearing loss.

Speech Discrimination – These tests help the audiologist evaluate how well an individual can understand speech. Understanding speech is different than simply hearing tones and requires higher-level processing in the auditory centers of the brain.

Auditory brainstem response – This test involves electrodes placed on the patient’s forehead and ears. A sound is played to the ear and the response of the auditory nerve and brainstem are recorded. This test is useful in testing the hearing of infants and those that cannot perform a traditional test. It is also useful in helping to rule out tumors of the auditory nerve (acoustic neuromas).

These tests help our doctors of audiology to detect potential causes of your hearing loss, the extent of the hearing loss, and what types of hearing loss treatment will help you.

Post-Test Consultation

Following your evaluation, your doctor will review the results with you. Results will be discussed thoroughly and we encourage questions and discussion. Based on the results, a collaborative effort will be made to create a customized treatment plan. Some hearing losses are able to be treated medically with surgery or medication. However, the majority of hearing losses require hearing aids as part of the treatment plan. Our doctors of audiology are experts at helping you select appropriate devices that will meet your lifestyle needs as well as your budget.

Importance Of Hearing Tests

A diagnostic evaluation is important to determine the cause and severity of a hearing loss. This helps the doctor determine the best course of treatment. A small percentage of hearing losses can be corrected with surgery or medication (about 10%). The majority of hearing losses require hearing aids as part of the treatment plan (around 90%). Additional benefits to a comprehensive hearing evaluation include:

  • Treating Tinnitus – Hearing aids often help to treat and manage tinnitus. Approximately 66% of all tinnitus sufferers report significant benefits from wearing hearing aids. In fact, the use of hearing aids is the only FDA-approved treatment for tinnitus
  • Prevent Cognitive Decline – Recent research has revealed a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. Having even a mild hearing loss can put an individual at high risk to develop dementia or Alzheimers. Although research is ongoing in this area, it appears treating the underlying hearing loss helps to delay the onset of these cognitive issues.
  • Help Balance Issues – Although the primary purpose of hearing aids is not to improve balance, there is good research that shows wearing hearing aids can improve balance and help prevent falls. Being more aware of sounds in the environment helps improve balance and prevents falls. Some hearing aids even have artificial intelligence built into them to alert a family member in case of a fall.

Have A Comprehensive Hearing Evaluation At Hearing & Balance Doctors

Our clinic provides the highest quality of care provided by the highest credentialed professionals. In addition to performed diagnostic hearing evaluations, our doctors also specialize in the following hearing services:

  • Hearing aid dispensing and fitting
  • Hearing aid adjustment and repairs
  • Hearing aid batteries (all sizes, including rechargeable)
  • Balance evaluations
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Hearing aid accessories
  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Hearing protection
  • Musician’s earplugs
  • Swimmers earmolds
  • Tinnitus evaluations and treatment
  • Ear wax (Cerumen) removal

If you or a loved one would like to have any of these services performed, please contact us for an appointment. Our doctors of audiology are here to help find the appropriate solution to your problems and provide the highest quality of care.