Congratulations on scheduling your first hearing test. If you have significant hearing loss, it’s your first step back toward full and healthy communication and participation with the world. The tiny struggles with which you’ve become accustomed to in everyday life become a thing of the past with contemporary assistive devices for hearing loss offering unparalleled comfort and clarity.

Over 37 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss, and fully two-thirds of them could benefit from hearing aids or other assistive devices. There’s a good chance that you can too, if you’re getting older or if you’ve worked in very loud settings such as in a factory or around heavy equipment. A hearing test determines not only the extent of hearing loss, but it also forms a “prescription” for hearing aids.

Hearing & Balance Services of Reston specializes in hearing tests, helping you determine the best path forward for your hearing needs. We have the knowledge and experience that you want in your corner. Here’s what you can expect from a hearing test at Hearing & Balance Services of Reston.

Your case history

Before measuring your current hearing capability, we walk through your background, work and home environments, hobbies, interests, or anything else that may have an impact on your ears, including childhood illnesses, medications you take, or family members who may have had premature hearing loss.

Next comes a physical examination of your ears with an otoscope, a device that illuminates and magnifies your ear canal. Buildups of cerumen, or ear wax, are sometimes significant enough to cause temporary hearing loss; she’ll clean that out before moving forward. Next, it’s on to the two primary components of your functional hearing evaluation.

1. The pure-tone test

You’re seated in a soundproof booth and fitted with headphones. You hold a button in one hand, which you press when you hear a sound. As the name of the test implies, these are pure tones, sine waves at a variety of frequencies and a range of volumes, starting from below the threshold of normal hearing. There’s no need to worry about “missing” sounds due to low volumes. You simply press the button when you hear a tone. The pure-tone test identifies your individual thresholds for these frequencies, a baseline for hearing function.

2. The speech test

In the same quiet environment, we play a series of words to you, again at various volumes. Your speech detection threshold may be different than your pure-tone response, depending on which frequencies you hear well compared with those you don’t. Speech testing also serves as a hearing comprehension test, demonstrating how well you understand what you hear. Sometimes, speech-in-noise testing may follow, depending on your hearing condition.

There are several other tests you may receive, such as those that test your eardrum function or bone conduction of sound. These vary by patient. A hearing test appointment typically lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, and at the end, you’ll have a form called an audiogram, a chart that illustrates your thresholds in both frequency and loudness.

The audiogram is your hearing aid prescription if your loss is severe enough to make these devices necessary. And you’re already in the right place. We can discuss your options with you based on the results of your hearing test.

To get started, contact Hearing & Balance Services of Reston. No matter what the outcome, a hearing test is your best step forward to assure continued connection with the world.