Hearing Test: Auditory Pathways

We’re talking about what’s involved in a hearing test. The first part is to ascertain the health and integrity of the auditory pathways.

We talked about how you need to have a clear channel leading inside the ear. We talked about the middle ear being  the mechanical room. Now we’re talking about the third part of the year which we call the inner ear, or the nerve.

This nerve really has two parts. One portion controls your balance another portion controls your hearing.  This whole nerve is full of dense fluid and inside that fluid and inside there are about 20,000 little cilia or hair cells. They kind of look like a hair on your hand, but microscopically obviously.  

And what’s amazing is that each one of these little hair structures controls a pitch or a tone.  Those hairs in your ear, kind of like the hairs on top of my head could change over time. That could be caused by just simple aging process, by toxic noise, by medications. Lots of things that can damage that nerve. In fact 90% of all hearing loss happens because of atrophy or damage to this portion.

Here at HearCare, we’ve got a couple different ways we can assess that.  The hearing test is done in a sound booth.  Our procedures allow us to tell us whether his hearing loss may be caused by  a temporary condition or more of a permanent damage to the nerve.

We also have a machine that’s called otoacoustic emissions. It’s a machine where we simply put a little probe tip in your ear canal. This machine actually sends a signal all the way down to the inner ear. It gets those hairs we talked about all excited and we actually measured the emission, the sound coming back out of the ear.  It allows us to very quickly ascertain the health and integrity of the inner ear.

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