The Most Thorough Hearing & Listening Assessment You’ll Ever Have
We start with a hearing test then go much further...
We hear with our ears, but we actually listen and comprehend with our brains. The much loved, and ubiquitous, classic audiometric hearing test is essential in determining the cause and site of any hearing loss, but it actually tells us very little about the effect any uncorrected hearing loss may have had on key areas of communication.
Claritas Hearing Audiologists use a unique Hearing and Listening Assessment to determine the health of all parts of your hearing system. This includes the key areas of communication decline, such as your ability to understand speech in both quiet and noisy environments.
Our revolutionary Hearing and Listening Assessment will give your Claritas Hearing Audiologist an insight into how far any damage to your auditory system may have progressed and of course what can be done to correct things.
Read below to discover the key areas of communication decline and how we assess them.
Sensitivity to sound
Damage to the auditory system can cause the level at which sounds becomes audible to be higher than normal.
The standard assessment to determine if a person has a hearing loss is called Pure Tone Audiometry, it's what most people are referring to when they describe a hearing test.
This increase in hearing thresholds that a hearing test picks up is what we refer to as hearing loss.
A Pure Tone Audiometry hearing test is used by our audiologists to assess any decline in sensitivity to sound and tests the combined function of the outer, middle and inner ear.
Speech discrimination in quiet
Even in ideal listening environments, some people can struggle to understand speech. There are some occasions when a reduction in a persons ability to understand speech is not caused by a hearing loss but commonly speech understanding in quiet environments declines with uncorrected hearing difficulties.
We assess this area of communication decline using a calibrated phonetically balanced word recognition assessment which enables us to assess any decline in speech recognition.
Speech discrimination in noise
Even for people with no hearing loss, communicating in noisy environments can be a challenge. For those with background hearing difficulties noisy environments can present the most common area of communication challenge.
Normally hearing people usually need speech to be just one or two decibels above competing sounds to make out enough to follow a conversation but where common types of hearing impairment occur it is not unusual to see that gap increase significantly.
It is essential to assess this common area of communication decline if the correct technology approach is to be identified by your audiologist. We use a sophisticated Speech in Noise assessment to get to the bottom of any difficulties you may be having in environments with competing background noise.
Comfort and tolerance to background noise
A common myth is that people with reduced ability to hear can more easily withstand louder noises. In fact the opposite is more often than not true.
Modern hearing aids are highly efficient at reducing unwanted background sounds but perhaps the single most common myth in hearing correction is that these Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) systems improve speech understanding in noise, they don't.
Our approach is therefore to use as little DNR as is needed in order to achieve comfort without reducing speech understanding further.
We use an Acceptable Noise Level assessment to assess the cognitive load, or effort, you have to use in order to try and cope with annoying sound sources.
Response to Hearing Correction
It is very difficult to say what the immediate effect of hearing correction will be on any given patient. There are many factors that play a part such as how long the hearing loss has been uncorrected for.
The rehabilitation process is driven in part by a patients neural plasticity, how fast the brain can rewire and learn new to do new things, and we can only assess this by trying you with the correct levels of hearing correction applied. The good news is that most people who might initially struggle will usually make solid improvements in time.
We assess this area of communication decline by programming your ideal sounding hearing solution and then assessing its immediate performance.
What happens next?
One of our HCPC-qualified Audiologists will carry out your Hearing and Listening Assessment, either in the comfort of your own home or one of our centres.
Your Audiologist will perform an otoscopic examination, a safe and comfortable procedure, to check the health of your ears and identify any issues, such as wax build-up, which could be causing your hearing and communication difficulties. In many cases if earwax removal is needed, your Audiologist can perform this for you.
Once your Hearing and Listening Assessment is complete, your Audiologist provides a full explanation of the results to ensure you understand the nature of your hearing difficulties. They will use the results to let you know about the right technical, programming, and style choices for your ideal hearing solution.