At the Centre for Advanced Hearing and Balance Testing, we offer comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessments for all of our patients. A diagnostic hearing assessment takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
We examine your ears, including the external ear canal and the eardrum, to look for signs of blockages (e.g. earwax) as well as ear-related problems that might require medical follow-up (e.g. ear infections). If significant earwax is present, our audiologists will remove it using medical-grade microscopes and special suction devices.
We use a machine called a tympanometer to assess how your eardrums are moving. When an eardrum is too floppy or too stiff, it can indicate certain middle-ear problems that usually require medical follow-up. We may also play loud sounds in your ear to assess acoustic reflexes.
This is the step that people most commonly expect when they come in for a hearing test. We play a series of beeps/tones and ask you to respond when you hear one. This way we can determine your hearing thresholds for each ear individually, across the range of frequencies/pitches that are important for speech understanding.
We use the results of this test to establish the severity and type of hearing loss. A hearing loss can be the result of damage to the inner ear and/or auditory nerve (sensorineural hearing loss), problems with the middle ear (conductive hearing loss), or both (mixed hearing loss).
This part of the assessment is divided into two main parts. During the first part, you will be asked to repeat words as we vary the loudness. The purpose is to establish the softest level at which you are consistently able to repeat the words back correctly. During the second part, we measure your accuracy when repeating words at a comfortable listening level. We also complete tests to establish your most comfortable listening level for speech (MCL), as well as your uncomfortable listening level (UCL), the maximum level you can listen to sounds before they become uncomfortably loud.
At the discretion of the audiologist, other tests may be completed to better understand your individualized needs. An example of this is the speech in noise test (QuickSIN), which is used to evaluate your ability to function outside of a quiet environment.