The diagnostic hearing evaluation analyzes the condition of the outer, middle, and inner ear as well as the patient’s ability to understand speech in noise and in quiet listening environments. Complete diagnostic hearing evaluations include case history, tympanometry, pure tone audiometry, and speech testing. Further testing may be necessary due to the nature of the patient’s complaint and responses during the evaluation. These tests might include acoustic reflex threshold testing, distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) testing, or auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing.
Before your appointment, a medical history questionnaire will be completed and the audiologist will want to hear about any difficulties you have about your hearing. She will pay special attention to any concerns you have about exposure to noise, tinnitus, and balance problems. Make sure that you bring a full list of any medications and supplements you are taking with you to your appointment.
The diagnostic hearing evaluation determines the unique aspects of your hearing loss, and will indicate if there is an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed before pursuing hearing aids or other devices. Some types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically. If the patient is diagnosed with a hearing loss that could potentially be helped with medical or surgical treatment, the audiologist will refer the patient for a medical evaluation. After the medical evaluation has been complete and the patient has been cleared for the fitting of hearing aids or other devices, then they will follow up with the audiologist for the appropriate aural rehabilitation options.
The diagnostic evaluation is scheduled for one hour. This allows for testing procedures to be completed and the review of test results. The audiologist will answer any questions and then discuss treatment options. Most health insurance policies will cover the diagnostic hearing evaluation however some may require a referral from your primary care physician to qualify for coverage.