Hearing Tests

Routine hearing assessments are vitally important in children as poor hearing may go unnoticed and negatively affect speech development and general learning skills. Hearing loss in adults can come on suddenly or gradually and affect relationships, work and other daily life activities.  Normal hearing is 25 or less decibels (dB) in adults and less than 15dB in children.  Profound hearing loss is typically 95dB or more.  100dB is generally considered complete deafness. 

Whether it be for a routine hearing screening or for a concern that hearing loss is present, a variety of hearing tests are available to assess hearing. They can be as simple as using rubbed fingers and a whispered voice or more involved like electrophysiological tests that help determine the specific cause of any hearing loss. Tuning forks, rubbing fingers, the whisper test and the use of a ticking watch are some of the simpler methods of hearing assessment.  More complex tests include pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, electrophysiological tests, and acoustic reflex testing.

Hearing threshold in decibels (dB) Degree of hearing loss Ability to hear speech
0-25 Db
No significant difficulty
26-40 dB
Difficulty with faint or distant speech
41-55 dB
Difficulty with conversational speech
56-70 Db
Moderate to severe
Moderate to severe
71-90 dB
Difficulty with even loud sounds, must be amplified
91+ Db
May not understand amplified speech

If significant hearing loss is found, the nature and cause of the hearing loss is then investigated.  If a reversible cause exists, steps are taken to remove or treat the cause. Influencing factors such as infection, environmental factors or obstruction are usually involved.  If the hearing loss is not reversible, hearing rehabilitation is often the next step in managing hearing loss.  Hearing rehab, also known as audiologic, aural or auditory rehab, involves training and assistance to improve one’s hearing.  Focus is on making the most of assistive devices and managing conversations with others.

Hearing rehabilitation is much more than just learning how to work a hearing aid or television device, though.  Rehab trains individuals with hearing loss to optimize their other senses such as the use of visual cues and aids. Visual cues include lipreading, taking notice of speakers’ facial expressions, body language, context and environment. Individuals with hearing loss also learn ways to maximize communication. They learn to reduce background noise, rearrange furniture in the home or office to encourage closer face to face interactions, even carpeting and rugs can be used to absorb noise and enhance conversation. 

Most importantly, individuals prevent hearing loss from decreasing affecting their quality of life.  Through hearing rehabilitation, they learn to control their environment and optimize their new level of hearing and we are here to help every step of the way. Call The Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists of Wisconsin today for all your hearing needs!

Hear Better

Dr. Meyer & the staff at ENT Specialists in Appleton are wonderful! They eased my daughter's anxiety while having tests done. Very friendly and knowledgeable.

— Kelly F.

Very good experience with a very professional, detailed and caring practice. They took the time to diagnose the issue, and took no time at all to start treatment. I would recommend this practice to everyone!

— Heather S.

Dr. Keller was thorough and listened to my concerns, he did a complete exam and offered options to procced with types of treatment. I was pleased with the appointment. Again he listened to what I was saying, some doctors don't have that skill.

— Warren D.

Great service! The audiologists in Neenah and Oshkosh truly care about a client with hearing loss. They take the time to provide individualized hearing loss education and also provide excellent follow up support after selling hearing aids. Highly recommended!

— Matt B.

Great staff. The location is easy to find. Very accommodating and well organized. Would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Mjaanes and his staff.

— Douglas K.


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