Although we all recognize the big differences between a night at a budget motel and a night at the Ritz Carlton, some people incorrectly believe that all hearing tests are the same. The truth is that the differences are just as vast.
With hearing tests being available online, at your local big box store, and what feels like on every street corner at the moment, it’s important that you make a smart decision when choosing where you have your hearing tested to prioritize your long-term hearing health.
The biggest challenge is that it’s difficult to understand the differences. That’s why, in this article, I’m going to explain the key differences between the hearing test that you can have at a big box store, our standard hearing evaluation, and our advanced “Hear Wellness Assessment.”
My hope is that it will help you to understand the vast differences and make the best possible decision for your circumstances and long-term healthcare.
It’s important that you start with the end in mind.
The purpose of a hearing evaluation is most importantly to analyze your hearing health and pinpoint why you may be experiencing hearing challenges and what your treatment options may look like.
From testing thousands of people’s hearing, we have learned that there is an array of reasons why you may be struggling to hear. It could simply be a buildup of earwax, it could be an auditory processing challenge, or it could even be a more serious medical challenge that requires an immediate referral.
This is why we’ve been so passionate about advanced hearing assessments to ensure that you’re not being diagnosed with a hearing loss based on a simple “beep beep” test that could potentially miss a more serious condition and incorrectly prescribe you with a set of hearing aids.
The key differences
To understand the key differences between a standard hearing test from a big box store, our standard evaluation, and our advanced Hear Wellness Assessment, I’ve included a comparison chart below.
As you can see, a big box store predominantly focuses on two things.
They run a pure-tone test which is where you respond when you hear different beeps, which is a basic form of hearing test. They then share the results and make a recommendation which is typically to purchase a set of hearing aids.
Our standard evaluation is much more advanced, as it starts by understanding your case history, who you are, and what you’re looking to achieve. We then look into your ears using a video otoscope (a small video camera) to check your overall hearing health and ensure everything is functioning correctly. Following this, we run two different types of tests, a speech-in-noise test where you’re asked to repeat words with different degrees of background noise and a pure tone test. Following this, we’ll discuss the results and our recommendations as well as send a detailed report to your physician.
We then have our Hear Wellness Assessment which is a highly advanced hearing health check-up. It has an out-of-pocket cost of $295.00 which can be redeemed against any of our treatment plans.
This includes all of the above and also includes:
Dexterity plays an important role in treatment options. Many patients have difficulty managing small or intricate objects because of arthritis, neuropathy, or other issues, and this must be assessed before deciding upon treatment options so the wrong choice is not made. Things like managing cleaning, battery changing, button pushing, and insertion of hearing devices if necessary must be taken into consideration prior to selection. We use the Purdue Pegboard Test to complete a simple assessment to quickly and painlessly determine your dexterity level or identify any pre-clinical neurological changes.
There are many different reasons you may be at risk for falling, one of which could be untreated hearing loss, which can increase your risk of falling by up to eight times. We evaluate your balance through the simple and practical Timed Up and Go (TUG) screening as well as the GANS SOP test. We may recommend at home exercises or refer you to specialized physical or vestibular therapy. Our goal is to help you lessen the risk of falling, which in turn will lessen the risks of unnecessary ER visits, possible overnight hospital stays, and unnecessary rehabilitation and/or long-term healthcare facility placements.
Untreated hearing loss is linked to changes in cognition; the rate of decline can increase by up to five times. Cognitive ability can make all the difference in “how” a person hears. Two people can have the same degree of hearing loss yet function very differently in the world – cognitive functioning is often the reason why. Our procedure uses a groundbreaking new FDA-cleared system called the Cognivue that will screen your executive function, memory, visuospatial skills, reaction time, and processing speed. Recent research indicates that treating hearing loss can slow down or potentially even reverse mild cognitive decline. If hearing aids are recommended, this screening will help us select the best hearing devices for you as part of your plan of care.
Hearing In Noise
Hearing in noise is the most common hearing complaint. This test measures how well you can focus on what you want to hear in noisy environments and your listening effort in noise. This information helps us recommend the best treatment options for you, including hearing aid selection/programming, accessories, and auditory training.
Everyone has different sound preferences. This test allows us to understand which sounds are uncomfortably loud for you and how long you can tolerate being in noisy situations. Your sensitivity impacts which devices we choose and how we program them.
Development of Your Hear Wellness Plan
Our approach is tailored to YOU for your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Based on all of the information that we collected during this process, we create a Hear Wellness Plan. Your plan includes a comprehensive take-home report for you and your physician. This details the results of your tests and any needed referrals, such as primary care, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, neurology, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Then we help make your next steps as simple as possible and walk you through the “next steps.” We will also have baseline measurements to use after consistent hearing aid use to see where improvement can be noted.
Which option is right for you?
I hope that the above explains some of the key differences between the different tests available and how Duncan Hearing Health Care prioritizes your long-term hearing health through advanced and comprehensive testing.
To learn more about our Hearing Wellness Assessment, you can click here.
If you’re unsure which type of hearing evaluation is right for your unique needs and circumstances, then simply call your local office and we’ll ask you some questions to help understand which is right for you and help you to schedule your appointment.