Each year, hearing loss is detected in 0.2 percent of American newborns and the likelihood of impairment increases nearly 25 percent by the time we reach our 60s. The causes of hearing problems vary widely and, as such, several forms of testing and treatment have been developed for use by audiologists.
Auditory Processing Disorder Testing
When a patient has normal hearing, but difficulty processing what he or she hears, an audiologist may suspect the culprit is an auditory processing disorder and order a series of audiometric tests. These test will determine whether the issue lies in the brain’s inability to understand speech and if noisy environments are a factor in this lack of comprehension.
For those suffering from dizziness or symptoms of vertigo, even without a loss in hearing ability, an audiologist may look to the inner ear for answers. To find what is causing a patient’s lack of balance, visual observation, placement of their head and body in specific positions, and the use of cool and warm air to stimulate the inner ear, may be recommended by a hearing doctor.
Acoustic Neuroma Test
Known as a vestibular schwannoma, intracranial tumors are found in more than 2,000 hearing loss patients each year. Reaching this diagnosis begins with routine auditory testing, but may also include magnetic resonance imaging, pure tone audiometry, and an auditory brainstem response test.
Dizziness is considered a symptom as opposed to a disease, and several causes may be to blame for the condition. Due to this fact, an audiologist may order balance testing, x-rays, and blood work. Some patients must also undergo neurological testing. These symptoms can then be reduced or eliminated by a series of rehabilitative, medical, or surgical interventions.
Identifying Speech and Language Disorders
Often associated with hearing loss, speech and language disorders currently affect six million children and result in an inability to understand or use language for functional speech. The evaluation of those suspected of having a speech disorder may include assessment tools that evaluate how the child constructs sentences.
Diagnosing a hearing problem is the first step to treating the symptoms that are causing it and having this understanding also allows patients and their loved ones to communicate more effectively in the long run.