Hearing loss may be so gradual that you don’t even notice it is happening until one day someone tells you that they need to yell for you to hear them. Getting a regular checkup can help your doctor detect any hearing loss early so you can get the treatment you need to preserve your hearing.
A checkup for your hearing will start with the doctor asking you about your general health and your overall hearing. During this stage of the visit, you should tell your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing, such as pain in your ears, ringing in your ears, discharge or dizziness. The doctor will look inside your ear to look for signs of discharge, a swollen eardrum, blockages or any other damage to the hear.
The hearing test itself may include asking you to identify many different sounds to check the quality of your hearing. One of the most common tests is known as the pure tone audiometry. In it, you wear a pair of headphones, and you are asked to indicate when you hear a sound, either by raising your hand or pressing a button. The sounds are played at various pitches and volumes to test for hearing deficiencies.
Other tests may measure how well you can understand spoken words or whispered words. Like the pure tone audiometry, these words are heard through a pair of headphones, and you are asked to repeat what you hear.
Your doctor may perform tympanometry by blowing air gently through a small tube inserted in the ear. This test looks for signs of blockages that could be impairing hearing.
Additional tests may be conducted depending on how severe your hearing loss appears to be. It is important that you talk with your doctor about all the options so you can get a good understanding of your hearing health.