Barbara Kelley: I'm Barbara Kelley with the Hearing Loss Association of America. If you think you have a hearing loss, you will need to get a diagnosis. Here is what you might expect, a Hearing Loss Diagnosis based on the person History, Behavior, and Results of Medical and Audiological Examinations. When someone exhibits the symptoms of hearing loss, they should be scheduled for a medical evaluation, preferably one done by an Otologist. An Otologist is a doctor that has additional training in the medical and surgical management of dizziness, hearing loss, and ear tumors. The physician will review the person's history and will check for certain atypical events such as a sudden hearing loss in one or both ears. Dizziness and balance problems or tinnitus know as ringing in the ears. Usually the next step is for an audiological examination to be conducted by a hearing professional. Stephen P. Bowditch: Normally with the first visit with an Audiologist you are going to be doing a lot of testing. The basis of all hearing loss identification and diognosis is going to came through the Audiogram as well as other testing that we do. Jennifer Yeagle: An Audiogram is a graph of someone's hearing. It uses symbols to represent the softest sounds that you can hear. The number across the top represent frequency and they typically go from a low pitch to a high pitch. The numbers down the side go from very soft to very loud. Barbara Kelley: This informs the patient and the examiner about the pattern of the hearing loss. The degree of the bearing loss at different frequencies.
Stephen P. Bowditch: So you should expect to be put into a sound booth, wear some headphones, probably either raise your hand or press the button whenever you hear deeps and repeat a lot of words. Barbara Kelley: It is important to test directly for speech. Because often people with similar pure tone audiograms will understand speech quite differently. Stephen P. Bowditch: There are two types of hearing loss. The first type of hearing loss is Conductive Hearing Loss, which means that there is some sort of obstruction in either your outer or your middle ear, which stop the sound from getting to your cochlea. The second type of hearing loss is a Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which is otherwise knows as Nerve Deafness. This is where the damage is found in the cochlea itself.
Barbara Kelley: This condition is not, or very rarely, amenable to medical or surgical intervention. Stephen P. Bowditch: That doesn't mean that you can't get some sort of help either through the use of a hearing aid or if the degree of hearing loss is significant enough possibly through a cochlear implant. Barbara Kelley: So these are typical steps to finding out if you have a hearing loss.