What is an Audio Physical Exam?
An audiometry exam is to test patient ability to hear sounds. Sounds vary, based on their loudness (intensity) and the speed of sound wave vibrations (tone). Hearing occurs when sound waves stimulate the nerves of the inner ear. The sound then travels along nerve pathways to the brain. The purpose of this exam is to measure how well patient hearing functions. The audiometry test is to examine both the intensity and the tone of sounds, balance issues, and other issues related to the function of the inner ear. A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing loss called an audiologist administers the test. OSHA’s noise standard requires that audiometric testing be made available to all employees whose exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 dBA. On the other hand, the standard does not prohibit an employer from having a company rule that employees submit to audiometric testing.
The whole process should take about 30 minutes, and it’s painless. Most adults who get hearing tests are asked to wear earphones and listen to short tones that are played at different volumes and pitches into one ear at a time. Finally, audiometry is a test that measures the softest sound you can hear at different pitches. Physicians identify, assess, diagnose, and treat individuals with impairment of either peripheral or central auditory and/or vestibular function, and strive to prevent such impairments. An employee working in a noisy environment can have their audiometry testing at SNOHC to assess for hearing impairment. At SNOHC, we offer a comprehensive hearing evaluation in compliant with OSHA Hearing Conservation Program requirement including Standard Threshold Shift (STS).
PROCEDURES OF THE AUDITORY PHYSICAL EXAM
OBSERVATION OF VERBAL COMMUNICATION
In the auditory physical exam, the otolaryngologist can directly examine the patient’s hearing ability to understand in a quiet environment as well as a noisy environment. It is not necessary to schedule the verbal communication exam. The patient’s hearing ability can also be judged while addressing the auditory problems or briefing the auditory history. During this procedure, the examiner detects the auditory problem by certain conditions such as the inability to see the examiner’s face and increasing the distance from the patient.
The pneumatic otoscopy, palpation, and observation of the auricle are carried out to detect the outer ear and middle ear hearing disabilities. In case of the mixed and conductive hearing loss, the auditory problems are usually detected through the photomicroscopy.
NECK AND HEAD EXAMINATION
The auditory physical exam also includes the examination and inspection of the nasal cavities, pharynx, and neck. If the patient is suffering from the congenital hearing disability, the examination of the neck, head, nasal cavities and pharynx might help to detect the hereditary syndrome.
If the patient is suffering from asymmetric hearing disability, the third to twelfth cranial nerves are checked and examined to detect the patient’s auditory problems. But, this procedure is optional.