Ear damage can cause a range of symptoms, from hearing loss to balance problems, but the good news is that it can very often be diagnosed and effectively treated by an audiologist.
Ear injuries can occur as a result of infections or trauma to the ear area. Common types of ear injuries include:
- Noise-induced hearing loss, both from sudden loud noises or exposure to high noise levels over time.
- Direct blows to the ear or head, for example from playing sports or being involved in a car accident.
- Inserting something into the ear which can scratch the ear canal or cause a tear in the eardrum.
- A sudden increase or decrease in pressure, for example when diving or exposed to an explosion.
So how does an audiologist examine the ear to determine if it is damaged and what treatment should be followed? The Hearing Centre audiologist Claire Marshall explains:
Physical exam with an otoscope
During this examination your audiologist will use an instrument with a light at the end called an otoscope (sometimes referred to as an auriscope) to look for damage or abnormalities in the ear. This will be placed gently in the canal of the ear so that it can be examined closely. Alongside other abnormalities such as blockages caused by fluid an audiologist will be able to spot ear damage including perforated or collapsed ear drums.
Other tests to determine hearing loss include:
Pure tone audiometry
During this test your audiologist will examine your hearing ability by asking you to listen to a number of different tones through a pair of headphones. When you hear a tone you let them know by pressing a button or raising your hand. The results will be plotted as a graph and show the audiologist your hearing threshold.
Tympanometry tests can reveal any abnormalities which may explain a conductive hearing loss or any sensation of pressure. During the test variations of air pressure will be created in the ear canal to test the mobility of the ear drum.
The acoustic reflex test measures how the stapedius muscle contracts in response to a loud sound and measures the presence or absence of acoustic reflexes in the ear. It can be instrumental in diagnosing an underlying problem in hearing loss.
LISN-S speech tests
These speech tests allow the audiologist to accurately measure how well you understand speech in noise. The results can indicate how your hearing loss is affecting your understanding of speech.
Have your ear damage assessed at The Hearing Centre
If you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned about ear damage or injuries get in touch today. No GP referral is required to get an appointment at the Hearing Centre. To book an appointment please call 0116 254 3909 or fill in our online booking form.