Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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At Mayo Clinic, you will meet with an ENT doctor who specializes in ear problems (otologist). The doctor will conduct a medical interview and physical exam, assisted by a master's- or doctoral-level hearing specialist (audiologist). You will then undergo a battery of tests to confirm the cause of their hearing loss. Tests may include:

  • Basic audiogram. An audiogram determines whether you have a hearing loss, where it occurs and its type or classification.
  • Tympanometry. This test assesses how well your eardrum and middle ear are working.
  • Stapedial reflexes and reflex decay. Tests how well your auditory nerve is able to transmit hearing signals to the brain.
  • Auditory brainstem response testing. Measures the electrical nerve impulses that carry sound from the inner ear to the brain. An audiologist can determine how sound is transmitted and if nerve impulses are blocked or interrupted.
  • Sentence-in-noise test. Evaluates your ability to understand conversational speech in the presence of background noise. This test will help determine whether you might benefit from a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.
  • Otoacoustic emissions. These are signals generated by the normal inner ear that can be measured by placing a microphone in the ear canal. This test is primarily used in screening newborns for hearing loss.
  • Radiology studies. MRI and CT scans can reveal structural abnormalities or tumors within the ear.
  • Balance testing. Done for people with both hearing and balance difficulties.
Aug. 23, 2011

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