Hearing Testing
- Hearing Screening & Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation  -
Hearing screening is a quick way to determine if there is hearing loss and if the use of amplification (i.e. hearing aids) are indicated. At the Berkeley Hearing Center, hearing screening is used for counseling purposes only.  A more thorough diagnostic hearing evaluation will provide a more comprehensive assessment of the overall health and function of your peripheral hearing system.   Before the fitting of hearing aids, we perform full diagnostic hearing testing in order to determine if medical evaluation by a physician is indicated.  With most hearing losses, medical evaluation is unnecessary.

Diagnostic hearing testing has three components: Otoscopic Evaluation, Audiometry and Acoustic Immittance Testing (tympanometry/acoustic reflex measures). 

Otoscopy involves using a magnifying instrument (microscope or otoscope) to visualize and help assess the health and structures of your outer ear and middle ear.  Among other things, otoscopic evaluation can determine if ear wax is obstructing the outer ear or if there is a hole or perforation of the ear drum.  

Audiometry or pure-tone hearing testing is done in a sound booth/noise-controlled environment. This involves patient responses to auditory stimuli (tones/beeps) in order to determine frequency or pitch-specific sensitivity. Audiometry also involves word recognition testing using spoken words to determine basic speech understanding under ideal conditions. 

Acoustic Immittance involves two different tests, tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing.  Typanometry can determine if the eardrum is intact, if pressure in middle ear (behind the ear drum) is within normal limits and if the tube that connects your middle-ear to your throat ( eustachian tube) is functioning properly. This test can also help provide evidence of fluid within the middle ear, behind the ear drum. Testing is simple, fast and typically pain-free.  Acoustic reflex testing evaluates a muscle reflex that involves the peripheral auditory system up to the brainstem.  It is used to indicate the health of the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain stem.  It is a simple, fast and objective test that is also typically pain-free. Immittance testing is not always necessary, and is only performed when the other tests indicate it may be diagnostically significant. Acoustic immittance testing helps to localize what part of the ear may be involved in hearing loss.
All of the information obtained from the testing above  is used to determine the best path forward.  If the testing reveals hearing loss that can be addressed with the use of some form of amplification or assistive listening device(s), a Hearing Aid Consultation appointment can be scheduled to discuss the best options to address your issues and needs.

If you aren’t sure when you should come in for a hearing evaluation, a good rule of thumb is to have at least an initial baseline hearing test completed before age 60. Have you worked or played around loud sound?  Did you go to a lot of concerts at the Fillmore or Winterland?  Did you serve in the military or are a hunter?  Did you work in a factory or in construction?  Loud noise is very damaging to the inner ear, but the results may not show up till later in life!  Hearing loss typically occurs gradually, so you may not realize how much information you are missing at first.  
Do any of these ring true for you?
Sometimes I feel that people are mumbling or that they talk too quickly.
I feel like I need the television louder than my family or friends.
I have trouble understanding speech in noisy environments like a restaurant or party, when other don't seem to have that problem.
These are all signs of hearing loss! 

Hearing loss can be a depressing thing.  After all, generally speaking, we are all social creatures.  Don't let hearing loss stop you from doing the things you want to do.  You don't have to suffer in "silence"!

After receiving an initial baseline testing, it is recommended to come in at least every two to three years to have your assessment updated and receive any treatment that is indicated. 

Most insurances will pay part or all of the cost of a diagnostic hearing test.  It is important to note that a referral from your doctor may be required for your insurance to pay.  

Quality Hearing Tests & More

A hearing evaluation allows our audiologists to diagnose, treat, and counsel patients suffering from hearing loss and communication issues. We assess and provide therapies for people affected by tinnitus and/or hyperacusis. 

Contact us today to get started!

Audiology Services for Berkeley, CA

Do you ever have ringing in your ears or notice voices are muffled when you try to listen? If you’re feeling frustrated when talking to others because you cannot hear clearly, it’s time to consult a hearing professional. If it’s becoming harder and harder for you to hear in noisy places and distinguish one voice, or if you need to crank up the volume on your TV or cell phone, it might be time to get accurate answers about your hearing.

Hearing Devices & Screenings

Hearing screenings offer a quick way to determine if your hearing thresholds are within the normal range or if more in-depth testing is needed. A hearing screening can tell if a person has some hearing loss, though it does not indicate the nature of the hearing loss. The test is easy, quick, and painless. 

Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, is a symptom that is often associated with hearing loss. Our audiologists can determine if your ringing is associated with hearing loss through a hearing screening.  Call (510) 841-0681 today and speak with our staff regarding our audiology services!
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