Diagnostic Audiologic Evaluation
Schedule a Hearing Test in Berkeley, CA
Hearing screening is a quick way to determine if there is hearing loss and if the use of amplification (i.e. hearing aids) are indicated. At the Berkeley Hearing Center, hearing screenings are used for counseling purposes throughout the Berkeley, CA community. A more thorough diagnostic hearing evaluation will provide a more comprehensive assessment of the overall health and function of your peripheral hearing system. Before the fitting of hearing aids, we perform full diagnostic hearing testing in order to determine if medical evaluation by a physician is indicated. With most hearing losses, medical evaluation is unnecessary.
Diagnostic hearing testing has three components: Otoscopic Evaluation, Audiometry and Acoustic Immittance Testing (tympanometry/acoustic reflex measures).
Otoscopy involves using a magnifying instrument (microscope or otoscope) to visualize and help assess the health and structures of your outer ear and middle ear. Among other things, otoscopic evaluation can determine if ear wax is obstructing the outer ear or if there is a hole or perforation of the ear drum.
Audiometry or pure-tone hearing testing is done in a sound booth/noise-controlled environment. This involves patient responses to auditory stimuli (tones/beeps) in order to determine frequency or pitch-specific sensitivity. Audiometry also involves word recognition testing using spoken words to determine basic speech understanding under ideal conditions.
Acoustic Immittance involves two different tests, tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing. Typanometry can determine if the eardrum is intact, if pressure in middle ear (behind the ear drum) is within normal limits and if the tube that connects your middle-ear to your throat ( eustachian tube) is functioning properly. This test can also help provide evidence of fluid within the middle ear, behind the ear drum. Testing is simple, fast and typically pain-free. Acoustic reflex testing evaluates a muscle reflex that involves the peripheral auditory system up to the brainstem. It is used to indicate the health of the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain stem. It is a simple, fast and objective test that is also typically pain-free. Immittance testing is not always necessary, and is only performed when the other tests indicate it may be diagnostically significant. Acoustic immittance testing helps to localize what part of the ear may be involved in hearing loss.
All of the information obtained from the testing above is used to determine the best path forward. If the testing reveals hearing loss that can be addressed with the use of some form of amplification or assistive listening device(s), a Hearing Aid Consultation appointment can be scheduled to discuss the best options to address your issues and needs.
If you aren’t sure when you should come in for a hearing evaluation, a good rule of thumb is to have at least an initial baseline hearing test completed before age 60. Have you worked or played around loud sound? Did you go to a lot of concerts at the Fillmore or Winterland? Did you serve in the military or are a hunter? Did you work in a factory or in construction? Loud noise is very damaging to the inner ear, but the results may not show up till later in life! Hearing loss typically occurs gradually, so you may not realize how much information you are missing at first.
We can Identify the Source of Ringing in Ears
Do any of these ring true for you?
Sometimes I feel that people are mumbling or that they talk too quickly.
I feel like I need the television louder than my family or friends.
I have trouble understanding speech in noisy environments like a restaurant or party, when other don't seem to have that problem.
These are all signs of hearing loss!
Hearing loss can be a depressing thing. After all, generally speaking, we are all social creatures. Don't let hearing loss stop you from doing the things you want to do. You don't have to suffer in "silence"!
After receiving an initial baseline testing, it is recommended to come in at least every two to three years to have your assessment updated and receive any treatment that is indicated.
Most insurances will pay part or all of the cost of a diagnostic hearing test. It is important to note that a referral from your doctor may be required for your insurance to pay.