New patients often ask us why we recommend a comprehensive audiological evaluation (CAE) for any problem related to the ear. This is because a CAE is the only objective measure of your inner ear health and is the cornerstone of an ear examination.
Just as an eye doctor measures visual acuity at each of your eye examinations, we measure your hearing acuity during our evaluations. This helps us to accurately diagnose and treat an ear or hearing related condition. For those patients who have not had a CAE within the last 90 days, we highly recommend one of our audiologists perform one during your appointment.
“Why do I need a CAE if I feel like my hearing is fine?”
Hearing loss is usually a slow, invisible process that most people do not realize is happening. It is not uncommon for us to see patients who feel they have normal hearing only to find that they have a significant loss. Recent research has shown that untreated hearing loss can have long term impact on cognitive function.
“What if I’m not here about my hearing?”
If you have any problem related to the ear, a CAE enables us to evaluate for subtle changes in hearing or types of hearing loss which in turn, helps us determine the location of the problem you are experiencing.
“What if I just had a hearing test?”
Depending on the reason for your visit and the quality, thoroughness and date of the previous hearing test, we may ask that you have an updated CAE. People with disorders characterized by changes in their hearing may require regular CAE to adequately monitor response to treatment. Even if you believe your hearing has not changed since the last test, the CAE can pick up slight changes that become important when making treatment decisions.
In addition, a CAE can serve as a baseline against which all future evaluations of your ear and hearing can be compared. We keep these tests stored in your chart electronically for an indefinite period and they can be used for reference in the future.
“What’s involved in a CAE?”
There are different types of diagnostic tests and evaluations that can be performed as part of a CAE at Shohet Ear Associates.
Comprehensive Audiogram – to assess the overall condition of the ear and its different structures including the outer, middle and inner ear. This provides us with the information we need to rule out or confirm certain vestibular pathologies. It is also extremely useful for establishing a baseline for monitoring various hearing and vestibular conditions.
- Air Conduction Thresholds – using either a standard or insert earphones, we can determine how sound is conducted from the outer to the middle ear then onto the inner ear and vestibulocochlear nerve. This helps us to identify the location within the ear where hearing is being obstructed or compromised.
- Bone Conduction Threshold – by using a bone-conduction vibrator, we can bypass the outer and middle ear and stimulate the inner ear and vestibulocochlear nerve directly. When we compare Air and Bone Thresholds, we can more accurately determine the location of a person’s hearing loss.
- Speech Recognition Threshold – we use this primarily as a validation measure for pure tone threshold.
- Speech Discrimination – this allows us to assess a patient’s communicative abilities and determine if there is a cochlear (inner ear) or retrocochlear (beyond the inner ear) degeneration.
Immittance Testing – this group of tests measure the functional integrity of the eardrum and middle ear anatomy and include:
- Tympanogram Test – this test provides detailed information on the status of your Middle Ear so that we can determine if it’s functioning properly.
- Otoacoustic Emissions – this test provides detailed information on the status of your Inner Ear so that we can determine if it’s functioning properly.
- Acoustic Reflex Test – this test evaluates your acoustic reflex pathways, which include your cranial nerves and the auditory brainstem.
- Acoustic Reflex Decay – this test evaluates for the pathologies of your auditory nerve
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained audiologists, please contact us to request an appointment today!