Hearing Tests 101
Should I Get a Hearing Test?
If you believe you are suffering from hearing loss, help is available in Fairbanks at Aurora Audiology. If any of the following statements apply to you, it’s important to get your hearing checked by our audiologist.
- When meeting someone for the first time, you are unable to hear them clearly.
- You listen to the television or radio at a volume level which is uncomfortably loud for others in the room.
- You frequently ask people you are speaking with to repeat themselves because it sounds as if they are mumbling or their speech is muffled.
- You have frequent ringing in your ears that doesn’t go away.
- You find it difficult to hear conversations in noisy places – such as restaurants, airports or parties.
- You are unable to hear important sounds that occur during your day, including the alarm clock, cell phone notifications or the timer bell on the oven.
- You have trouble hearing phone conversations, particularly cell phone conversations or phone calls with a great deal of background noise.
- You feel as if your inability to hear is impairing your social life.
- You find yourself trying to read lips.
What Does a Hearing Test Detect?
A hearing test can detect issues as simple as an earwax obstruction, or as serious as permanent hearing loss. During your hearing test at Aurora Audiology in Fairbanks, our audiologist will measure the threshold at which you are able to hear specific sounds by having you listen to a series of tones at different volumes. The hearing test will also measure how well you hear and understand speech. This may include testing to determine how well you hear speech when there is considerable background noise.
After the test is completed, your hearing aid professional will create an audiogram that shows your hearing sensitivity. Using frequencies measured in Hertz (Hz), and loudness measured in decibels, the audiogram measures the lowest volume levels at which you can hear certain sounds. The louder it takes for a sound to be heard, the greater the level of hearing loss.
Our audiologist will review your hearing test results with you and determine your degree of hearing loss. Afterward, you can discuss potential treatment options and which hearing aids will work best for your situation.
How to Read Your Hearing Test Results
The normal range of hearing for a healthy adult is considered between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Most sounds we hear are between 250 and 6,000 Hz. A healthy adult should be able to hear sounds between 1 and 20 decibels at any frequency. Hearing loss of 25 decibels or less is considered typical hearing loss for an adult, and a hearing aid probably isn’t required.
Adults with hearing loss in the 26 to 40-decibel range are said to have mild hearing loss. Symptoms include difficulty understanding quiet conversations or difficulty hearing speech from across the room.
Hearing loss in the 41 to 55-decibel range is defined as moderate hearing loss. Those with moderate hearing loss have difficulty hearing conversations at normal volume levels, and listening in noisy environments is extremely difficult.
If you have hearing loss in the 56 to 70-decibel range, it is considered moderately severe hearing loss. Symptoms include difficulty hearing quiet conversations or ringing telephones.
Severe hearing loss is defined as hearing loss that falls between 71 and 90 decibels. With severe hearing loss, you can only hear people who are standing next to you and speaking very loudly.
Hearing loss measured at 91 decibels and higher is considered profound hearing loss. These individuals are unable to hear loud speech or the everyday sounds around them.
Will My Insurance Company Cover the Cost of My Hearing Test?
Because health insurance coverage varies by state, as well as by insurance plan, the answer to this question is different for each individual. Aurora Audiology will be happy to check with your health insurance provider to determine whether the cost of your hearing test is covered under your plan.
Medicaid will cover the cost of hearing tests and hearing aids for both children and adults in the State of Alaska. Medicare will cover the cost of your hearing test if you provide your audiologist with a primary care physician (PCP) Referral.