Hearing Evaluations FAQ

Why should I have my hearing tested? |

Hearing loss can affect many aspects of life. You may not understand the sound of a loved one’s voice, the television, or a phone conversation. For someone who has hearing loss, everyday activities can be frustrating or even embarrassing. Over time, hearing loss can become isolating and disruptive to relationships with family and friends.

Cornerstone Ear, Nose & Throat offers comprehensive services for detecting and correcting hearing loss in adults and children. With a combination of board certified ENT physicians and doctors of audiology, we offer surgical and non-surgical options for hearing loss all at one practice. Our certified audiologists have extensive training and knowledge to provide a thorough and accurate hearing examination. Once your hearing has been tested, we will make the proper recommendations, whether it’s medical, surgical, or amplification with a hearing aid.

What is an audiologist? |

An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses, treats, and manages individuals with hearing loss or balance problems. The audiologists at Cornerstone Ear, Nose, and Throat have earned a doctor of Audiology degree (Au.D.). They have completed extensive academic and clinical training in the field and are licensed through the state of North Carolina. Our audiologists’ training provides the foundation for managing patients of all ages. They counsel families though a new diagnosis of hearing loss in infants, and help teach coping and compensation skills to hearing impaired children and adults. They dispense and fit hearing aids as part of a comprehensive rehabilitative program. As a primary hearing health provider, audiologists refer patients to our ear, nose and throat physicians when the hearing or balance problem requires medical or surgical evaluation or treatment.

What is an Otolaryngologist? |

Otolaryngology is the oldest medical specialty in the United States. Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck. They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians.

Their special skills include diagnosing and managing diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face. Otolaryngologists diagnose, treat, and manage specialty-specific disorders as well as many primary care problems in both children and adults. At Cornerstone Ear, Nose, and Throat, our audiologists work very closely with our otolaryngologists to assure that our patients are receiving the best treatment for their hearing needs.

What happens during an evaluation? |

A hearing evaluation will begin with a discussion between you and the audiologist about your hearing concerns. We will ask about any history of ear surgeries, ear infections, or excessive noise exposure that you may have had. We will use an otoscope to look in your ear. In doing this, we are checking to see the overall status and health of your ear canal and eardrum and being sure that there are no blockages in the ear canal prior to testing.

Next we will conduct tympanometry. This is a test of the middle ear status. It is a very simple and easy test in which a probe is placed in your ear and air pressure is increased and then decreased. This allows us to see in graph form how mobile your middle ear is. Through this test we can diagnose middle ear fluid or pressure and also determine if an ear drum is intact.

You will then be directed in to a sound booth. This allows you to take your test in an environment that is free from distraction. The audiologist will place earphones in your ears and give you some basic instructions. Throughout the test you will be instructed to repeat words back and also to respond when you hear tones. Each ear is tested individually. You will indicate when you hear a tone by raising your hand or pushing a button. You will also be tested by bone conduction. A small bone vibrator will be placed behind your ear. With this device the sound is transmitted through the bone to the cochlea, bypassing the middle and outer ear. This will determine the type of hearing loss present.

With these measures, an audiogram is generated. An audiogram is essentially a graph of your hearing. It represents, from low pitch to high pitch, the lowest possible sound you can detect. The audiogram shows us the type, degree, and configuration of the hearing loss. With this information, we are able to make the proper recommendations for you.