Hearing loss is surprisingly common. It affects people of all ages, from young children to older adults. You may be born with it, or you may develop it as part of the aging process or as a result of environmental exposure to loud noise. It may also occur after an infection or in relation to a chronic health condition.
An audiology consultation is a full evaluation of your hearing ability. Having an audiology consultation can alert you to any hearing loss you may have. Sometimes, hearing loss comes on so gradually that you don't even realize you have it.
Here at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists are happy to provide our patients with thorough audiology consultations and treatment plans for hearing loss.
Here, we explain who should consider scheduling an audiology consultation and what you can expect during your appointment.
About audiology consultations
An audiology consultation can determine whether you have hearing loss, the extent of your hearing loss, and what may be causing your hearing loss.
Your consultation starts with questions about your health history, family history, medications you take, and exposure to noise over the years. Then, your provider performs a physical examination of your ears. After that, you receive several in-depth hearing tests that measure how well you hear various types of sounds. These tests may include:
Pure tone audiometry: This test exposes you to a series of tones that you hear through headphones. Your audiologist checks to see whether you can hear the tones.
Bone conduction: This test uses vibrations to check for specific types of hearing-related issues within your ears.
Speech-reception threshold and word recognition: During this test, your audiologist determines how well you can hear and understand different words played at different volumes.
Who should have an audiology consultation?
We recommend that you have your hearing tested if you answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions:
Are you having trouble hearing?
Perhaps you are asking people to repeat themselves frequently. Or maybe you have trouble hearing in certain situations, such as in a crowded restaurant, a movie theater, when you're watching television, or when several people are having a conversation.
You may even have noticed that you can't hear things, such as high-pitched tones, that other people can hear. In some cases, hearing loss manifests as a decreased ability to understand people rather than a true inability to hear sounds.
Do friends and family say you have a hearing problem?
Often, the people around us notice before we do that we are having trouble hearing. If loved ones suggest that you may not be hearing as well as you have in the past, it's worth listening to them.
Are you an older adult?
Age-related hearing loss affects many adults. Roughly one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss. Among those over age 75, about half have trouble hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends that adults receive audiology evaluations every 10 years up to age 50, every three years after age 50, and more frequently if you are at high risk for hearing loss.
If you use assistive devices such as hearing aids, you should follow up with your hearing care professional once a year.
Do you have hearing-related symptoms?
These may include:
- Blockages in your ears
- Discharge or bleeding from your ears
- Frequent ear infections
- Hearing ringing or buzzing (tinnitus)
- Pressure or pain in your ears
It's important to have symptoms checked out because prompt treatment could help prevent future hearing loss.
Are you worried about your ears or your hearing?
Even if you don't have obvious symptoms but are simply concerned about your hearing, having an audiology evaluation can give you peace of mind. In some cases, relatively simple treatments, such as removing excess earwax, can clear up hearing problems.
Addressing hearing loss
If your audiology evaluation shows that you have hearing loss, our providers work with you to create a personalized care plan that will help improve your hearing and your quality of life. We provide a wide range of solutions, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and custom earmolds.
Don't wait to have your hearing checked. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our care team by contacting one of our offices, which are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.