The hearing evaluation, or hearing test, is the foundation upon which a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s hearing profile is compiled.
The evaluation is done to determine if a hearing loss is present and, if so, to detail the type and severity of the hearing loss. It also may provide insight into the cause of the hearing loss as well as provide guidance for the audiologist in making appropriate treatment recommendations or referrals to other medical professionals if necessary.
However, the hearing evaluation does not correlate well with a particular patient’s difficulty in everyday listening situations. For example, a patient with “severe” hearing loss may characterize the impact on her life as not very intrusive, whereas a patient with a “mild” hearing loss may experience a significant and debilitating intrusion into his lifestyle.
The single most common complaint of hearing loss sufferers is an inability to hear clearly in the presence of even a small amount of background noise. The standard tone-based hearing evaluation does not assess this crucial ability and must be paired with other tests to paint a true picture of a patient’s communication difficulty.
The only way to define and improve a patient’s ability to hear in background noise is to measure performance in two conditions: pre and post treatment. Our comprehensive hearing evaluation includes various speech in noise tests. These same speech in noise tests are often used as objective verification that hearing aids are improving this most common barrier to effective communication.