According to Statistics Canada, more than half of Canadians between the age of 40 and 79 have at least a mild hearing loss. This is a staggering statistic but what is even more surprising is that 77 percent of these individuals don’t even realize that they have a hearing loss. One of the most common reasons for this “unperceived hearing loss” is that hearing loss usually happens gradually. Therefore, an individual with a hearing loss may develop compensatory strategies like leaning in towards the person who is speaking.
What most individuals with hearing loss don’t realize is that hearing loss is more than missing what’s being said during a family gathering or social event it can impact their physical, mental and financial wellbeing as well. Although hearing loss is invisible, the people around the individual with the hearing loss are often very much aware that the individual struggles with hearing. If the individual with untreated hearing loss is employed their hearing loss can impact their ability to advance in their career and affect their financial wellbeing. Hearing loss also affects balance and can indicate other chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular issues. Lastly, recent research indicates that individuals with untreated hearing loss are 5 times more likely to develop cognitive decline, such as dementia.
Some common signs or symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty understanding words in noisy environments
- Trouble hearing over the telephone
- Frequently asking others to repeat themselves or speak slower, especially women and children
- Difficulty hearing someone at a distance
- Needs to turns up the volume on the television or radio
- Withdrawal or avoidance of social situations
On average individuals with hearing loss will wait 7 years before they do something about their hearing issue. Early identification and intervention is critical to preserve and protect your hearing and overall health.
If you’ve taken our online hearing screening and it indicates that you should have a full diagnostic assessment, or a family member or friend is complaining that you should get a hearing test, give us a call and we’d be happy to book you an appointment.
Hearing Assessment Process
Step 1: Intake
When you call in to our office the receptionist will ask you some screening questions to ensure we are booking the right appointment for you. A file will then be created in our system and you will be informed of our first availability. Our receptionist will encourage you to bring in a family member or friend to the appointment to help the Audiologist better understand how the hearing issues are impacting others in your life. Before your appointment you can visit our website to download and complete the intake form, or arrive 15 minutes early to your appointment to complete the intake form in our office. A reminder call will be provided two days before your appointment.
Step 2: Assessment
The receptionist will collect your intake form and bring you to the test room. The Audiologist will briefly review your intake form and introduce herself to you. The Audiologist will review the intake form with you and your significant other to better understand your overall health and hearing profile. The Audiologist will explain how she will be assessing your hearing and ask for consent to proceed with the assessment. The assessment includes checking the outer, middle and inner ear function.
The outer ear consists of the visible ear flap on the side of your head, the ear canal and the eardrum. The Audiologist will check for any blockages and determine the health status of your eardrum.
The middle ear consists of three bones and a eustachian tube that equalizes pressure in your ears with the environment. The Audiologist will place the probe of the tympanometer machine at the opening of your ear canal that will produce a sound and gentle pressure wave to determine how well your eardrum is moving and the health status of the middle ear.
The inner ear includes the cochlea, your hearing organ that is fluid filled and lined with delicate hair cells that picks up sound waves transferred through the auditory system and sends it to the brain through bio-electrical signals along the auditory nerve to the auditory centre of your brain where it is interpreted. The Audiologist will determine how well your inner ear is able to pick up sounds by presenting tones through headphones or ear inserts and they will record the softest level you can perceive the tones. A speech test to see how well you can repeat words without visual cues will also be performed. If a hearing loss is identified, the Audiologist will also assess how well you hear through a bone oscillator. This test will help to determine the location of the damage in the auditory system.
Step 3: Recommendations
The Audiologist will review the test results with you and explain which frequencies you are hearing well and which frequencies you do not hearing and how this impacts understanding. The Audiologist will also inform you if hearing aids or a medical consultation is recommended. At the end of the session, the Audiologist will bring you to the reception desk to process payment for the service provided and book a follow up appointment if warranted.
A hearing assessment will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. If hearing aids are recommended a hearing aid evaluation appointment will be booked where you can try on a set of hearing aids to hear what you are missing and learn about hearing aid options.
For more information on the hearing aid evaluation appointment please click here.