Conditions that impact hearing can involve was buildup, infection, foreign objects, fluid behind the eardrum, holes in the eardrum, problems with the little bones behind the eardrum as well as nerve hearing loss that involves damage in the cochlear inner ear. Nerve hearing loss can be inherited or acquired from loud noise exposure, medications, infection and the natural aging process. On exam, the doctor checks for redness, fluid behind the eardrum and movement of the eardrum. These are the signs of an ear infection.
Diagnostic Audiology Testing may include:
Comprehensive Audiometric Evaluation – this is classic hearing testing performed through equipment called an audiometer; it includes testing hearing for tones at various pitches.
Tympanometry – this test measures the air pressure in the middle ear and helps determine how well the Eustachian tube is working and the eardrum is moving.
Speech Audiometry (tests of word understanding ability in quiet or in noise) – tests with words help in evaluating the nerves of the auditory system; it also helps determine practical hearing for communication and help us to know a person’s potential benefit from hearing rehabilitation
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) testing – this test is a quick way to evaluate cochlear function which is especially useful as a hearing measure for infants and children; it does not require anything more than briefly being still and quiet with a soft test tip in the ear; the equipment measures the ear’s response to test tones to show if ear function is normal.