At Kaiser Permanente Colorado, our services are divided into diagnostic services and hearing aid services. Prior to obtaining a hearing aid, you will need to get a complete diagnostic test by one of our licensed audiologists who specialize in diagnosis of hearing loss. These appointments are made through the Head and Neck Surgery & Audiology Department at our Rock Creek and Franklin locations and through Hearing Services at Wheat Ridge and Colorado Springs locations.
Hearing tests determine which areas of the ear are causing your hearing impairment. Our audiologists will use a combination of tests to assist in the diagnosis of your hearing loss, and may include tests such as:
This test determines your hearing ability relative to normal hearing levels. If hearing loss is found, this test also informs your audiologist about the type, degree and configuration of the hearing loss, helping to determine treatment options. After the test, your audiologist will determine if you are a good candidate for hearing aids and will discuss the management of your hearing loss.. See UNDERSTANDING HEARING LOSS (need a link here) for further information about hearing loss.
This examination looks at the function of the middle ear, which consists of the eardrum and three small bones that connect the eardrum to the inner ear. Middle ear blockages or malfunctions discovered during this test often can be treated medically or surgically to improve hearing.
Acoustic Reflexes and Reflex Decay
This test evaluates the auditory (hearing) nerve's ability to transmit sounds to the brain. Blockages along this pathway may indicate the need for further medical consultation.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing
During this evaluation, electrical nerve impulses that carry the sound from the inner ear to the brain are measured. Electrodes are placed on the ear lobes and on the head which measure responses from your brain to a sound that will be played in the ear.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)
These evaluate the function of outer hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea). Otoacoustic emissions are acoustic signals generated by the normal inner ear, either in the absence of acoustic stimulation (spontaneous emissions) or in response to acoustic stimulation (acoustically-evoked emissions). These emissions can be measured by placing a microphone in the opening of the ear canal and analyzing the signals obtained.