Diagnostics

Audiologists are trained in advanced test procedures and follow recognized practice standards. We work with other health care professionals to identify and diagnose hearing problems. NSHSC tests hearing for all age groups.

Using a variety of tests, the audiologist assesses different parts of the ear:

  • Outer ear:  the audiologist will visually examine your ear to see if there are any signs of infection or blockage in the external portion of the ear.

  • Middle ear: using a machine that puts a small bit of pressure in your ear, the audiologist will measure the movement of your eardrum to assess the function of your middle ear. This will help determine if there is any infection or problems with the bones of the middle ear.

    There are small muscles in the middle ear which will be tested using a series of brief loud tones.

  • Inner Ear: the audiologist will use a variety of listening tests to determine your ability to detect sound and understand speech. For young children, these tests are done through speakers. For older children and adults, earphones are used to test each ear separately. If results suggest hearing loss, the tests may be repeated using a small vibrator placed behind your ear to see if hearing improves when the middle ear is not involved in the test.

  • We will also use a test called Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE). A small probe that sends out a quiet sound is placed in the outer ear. We record an “echo” response from your inner ear and the computer estimates if the ear has detected the sound.

After reviewing these tests, the audiologist will discuss the results with you and make recommendations about whether more tests are required, if a medical referral might be appropriate or if hearing aid amplification should be considered.