How is hearing loss diagnosed?


Who should I contact about my hearing loss?
What questions will my GP ask?
Will there be a physical examination?
What happens next?
What does an audiologist do?
Are hearing test painful?
How is hearing loss diagnosed?
What does an ENT consultant do?


Who should I contact about my hearing loss?

If you are concerned about your hearing, you should make an appointment to see your GP. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and past health, and examine your ears. On the basis of this examination, tour GP will decide if you need a specialist referral.

What questions will my GP ask?

If you report symptoms of hearing loss or your doctor finds a possible hearing problem, he or she may ask you about recent or long-term exposure to loud noise, any medicine you are taking, and physical symptoms (such as muffled hearing, ringing in your ears, or vertigo). Your answers to these questions may help determine the cause of the hearing loss.

Will there be a physical examination?

Your GP will perform a physical exam of the ears. Your doctor will use an illuminated instrument (an otoscope) to look for problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear, including earwax, an object or obstruction in the ear canal, infection or fluid in the ear, or injury to the ear. This examination should be painless.

What happens next?

If your doctor suspects or diagnoses hearing loss, he or she may refer you to an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) consultant, an audiology (hearing) clinic in a hospital or private audiologist, if you prefer.

What does an audiologist do?

Audiologists are hearing specialists who are trained to identify, diagnose, measure, and treat hearing disorders or balance problems. They use a variety of devices to measure hearing and the type and extent of hearing loss.

Are hearing tests painful?

Hearing tests are painless and safe, involving a test of your ability to hear tones at different volumes. The test results will be used to diagnose and treat your hearing.

How is hearing loss diagnosed?

The main test for identifying a hearing loss is pure-tone audiometry. It assesses the lowest sounds you can hear over a range of different frequencies/pitches. The test involves you sitting in a soundproof booth; you listen to different pitched tones through headphones. You have to indicate every time you hear a tone by pressing a button. The test takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

What does an ENT consultant do?

Armed with the outcome of the audiology test, your ENT consultant should be able to give you information on the extent and nature of your hearing loss and prescribe a course of action, such as recommending hearing aids, possibly surgery (not very often), or in severe cases and after further tests, refer you to the Cochlear Implant Unit in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin for assessment.

 


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