Dr. Amy White discusses how hearing tests, specifically pure tone and speech testing, are used to evaluate how effective hearing aids can be for each patient. Low speech testing scores indicate that a patient might have more success with alternative options, like a cochlear implant, or that supplemental technology may be recommended in addition to hearing aids. Watch the video to learn more about how the results of your hearing test will help determine the effectiveness of hearing devices.
Hi, this is Dr. Amy White, audiologist and owner at Elk Grove Hearing Care. Today I’m here to talk to you about how we can predict your success with hearing aids based on some of the testing.
The testing that you go through to get hearing aids is pretty straightforward, and it hasn’t changed a whole lot over most years. Part of the test, as you may remember even from being a school-age child or doing raising your hand or pushing a button when you hear beeping sounds. We call that part of the test “pure tone testing.” Pure tone testing is important to identify the severity of hearing loss, and when we know how much hearing loss you have, we then can determine how powerful of a hearing aid we need in order to meet your needs. So that is a very important aspect of the tests that we do.
However, the most important part that leads us to determine what we would expect you to do with hearing aid performance is called speech testing. Speech testing usually is done in quiet, where we have you repeat back a series of words like, “Say the word ‘cat,’ say the word ‘dog.’” We play these words at nice, loud levels because we want to know, if you have access to the sound, how clearly is your brain and your auditory system able to process and make sense of speech.
If those scores are really low, like perhaps 20 percent or 30 percent of those words were correct, then you may actually benefit very little from hearing devices and need something different like a cochlear implant to help you hear better. However, if those percentages are really high, 80 percent, 90 percent, then we would expect you to perform pretty well with hearing aids in a quiet room.
Now most people who have trouble hearing will complain that they hear well in a quiet room, but not so well in a noisy restaurant. This we feel is very important and is why, when you come see us, we always test you in background noise, so we want to know how well can you understand speech in the presence of noise, like it sounds like a lot of people are talking behind you. That test, again, helps us determine what we would expect you to be able to do with hearing aids alone versus needing additional devices such as FM systems or other resources to try and help you hear more effectively in noise.
Once we know what these scores in noise and quiet are for speech understanding, we combine that with the results of that pure tone testing, and that is how we can help select the hearing aid. The second piece of that hearing aid selection comes from talking about your lifestyle and your needs, and we’ll cover that in the next video.
If you have any other questions, we invite you to come and see us any time at Elk Grove Hearing Care.