Throughout Hearing Health Awareness Month, the Alabama Hearing Associates team has been demonstrating why it’s important to get regular hearing assessments.

But the question on many people’s lips is, “Just what happens during hearing assessments?”

This is perfectly normal.

We know what takes place at an eye examination, as these are frequently discussed among friends and family, but hearing assessments don’t receive the same attention.

The great news is that hearing assessments are a comfortable and simple way to receive an expert diagnosis.

This is what you can expect during your first visit to Alabama Hearing Associates.

What’s your concern?

Hearing assessments usually start off by focusing on your concern.

You might expect your doctor of audiology to start the assessment by examining your ears. But in fact, each hearing assessment begins with a one-to-one discussion with your specialist.

In this, they’ll want to find out about your particular concerns and why you felt it was important to address them today.

They’ll also want to find out about your medical history and whether those in your wider family have a history of hearing loss.

This is because certain ailments and medications can affect your ears, while hearing loss can also be hereditary.

Taken together, they’ll be able to understand the background of your conditions.

Hearing Assessments: What are your goals?

The team would encourage you to bring a loved one who is familiar with your day-to-day concerns to your hearing assessment.

Collectively, you can discuss the occasions and activities that you find most challenging with your specialist.

You’ll also be asked what goals you hope to achieve following successful treatment.

This can be a hard question to reflect upon individually, but together, you can isolate four or five key areas of your life that you want to improve.

For some people, this is finding it easier to talk on the telephone during work hours. Others want to communicate more effectively with their grandchildren, who often have soft voices.

Hearing Assessments: A Battery of Hearing Tests

After these preliminary discussions are complete, the technical part of the assessment will begin, where your doctor of audiology will measure and analyze your hearing capability.

You’ll head over to the clinic’s dedicated sound booth, where you’ll be put through a series of straightforward tests.

These will show how well you can hear over background noises and how your brain processes different words and types of speech.

They’ll also define your overall hearing tolerance, with all this information crucial for the final phase of the assessment.

Results and recommendations

Once this section of the hearing test is complete, your doctor of audiology will bring you back to their office and make a recommendation.

This will combine both your goals and the results from your hearing tests.

If hearing aids are the best course of treatment, your specialist can begin the fitting process right away.

Team members will examine each hearing aid after they come out of the box, to check they meet the manufacturer’s very high standards.

Following this, you’ll be taught how to get the best response from your devices, with repeat visits taking place over a number of weeks to ensure they’re working well.

Why are hearing assessments important?

Hearing assessments are necessary for several reasons:

Early detection of hearing loss: Hearing assessments can detect hearing loss in its early stages, allowing for prompt treatment and management. This is particularly important for children, as hearing loss can impact their language and cognitive development

Monitoring hearing health: Regular hearing assessments can help monitor changes in hearing health and identify any potential problems before they become more severe.

Treatment planning: If hearing loss is detected, a hearing assessment can help determine the severity of the loss and the best course of treatment. This may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices.

Improved communication: Hearing loss can impact communication, causing difficulties in social situations and at work. A hearing assessment can help improve communication abilities and overall quality of life.

Preventing further damage: If hearing loss is identified, a hearing assessment can help prevent further damage by identifying potential causes and offering advice on how to protect your hearing.

Hearing Assessments in Alabama

Are you concerned about hearing loss or know someone who is? Contact the team at Alabama Hearing Associates and they’ll be ready to help!

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Dr. Susan Sheehy

Dr. Sheehy earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in audiology at the University of Alabama before beginning her career as a clinical audiologist in Huntsville. In 2005, she received her doctorate in audiology from Salus University. Dr. Sheehy is one of a specialized subset of audiologists certified in tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT). By appointment from the governor, she has served as a member and chairperson of the Alabama Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.