Hearing Evaluations

Understanding the problem is half the battle.

Sign Up To Redeem Your

Free Hearing Test Consultation

At Higgins Hearing & Audiology in Traverse City, we’re committed to helping you regain the full joy of hearing. Our experienced and friendly audiologists specialize in comprehensive hearing testing and personalized hearing aid solutions. We believe that everyone deserves to experience life’s beautiful sounds, and we’re here to ensure you do too.

Your First Visit

What to expect during your hearing test.

Don’t be nervous.  A hearing evaluation is a painless procedure.  We’ll ask a few questions.  Take a look inside your ear and perform a battery of tests, explained below in detail.  The test will include listening to a series of tones and a list of words.  At the completion of the test, we’ll provide you with an explanation of the results and a list of recommendations. The entire evaluation from start to finish will take approximately one hour.  

Your Hearing Evaluation

A hearing test is a painless procedure designed to provide us with information about the status your ability to hear.  The following are a few of the procedures that might occur during the course of a hearing test. We treat every patient as an individual and as such we will tailor your visit to meet your needs.

1. History

We begin the process by asking questions. Your answers to the questions will help us to determine what other questions we may need to ask and which tests we may administer.

2. Otoscopic Examination

An evaluation of the outer ear and ear canal using an instrument called an otoscope will follow the history taking. We’re looking for abnormalities and dysfunction of the outer ear and ear canal. 

3. Pure Tone Air Conduction Testing

Sound will be delivered via headphones either placed over your ears or inserted (a soft disposal tip is used) just into your ear canal.  You will hear a series of beeps or tones. You will be asked to indicate when you hear the tone sometimes by pressing a button, sometimes by raising your hand.  This test will give us an idea of your threshold (the softest sound you can hear) levels for different frequencies (pitches).

4. Pure Tone Bone Conduction Testing

To administer this test, a small device that vibrates will be placed behind one ear at a time.  If the hearing levels in both ears are similar this test will usually be done with the vibrator device behind one ear only.  The remainder of the test is the same as the pure tone air conduction test.

5. Speech Discrimination Testing

Since it’s important to determine not just how well you hear tones but also how well you’re able to understand the spoken word we administer speech tests. The speech discrimination test is administered at a level that is comfortable for you, not to loud and not too soft. You will hear a series of words. You will be asked to repeat each word back, one at a time.


It’s important for you to ask questions. We’ll also provide you with recommendations some short term and some long term.  Our recommendations will also consider the entire picture not just your ears. And then we sit down with you and explain the results and what it all means because we believe your journey to better hearing should be a partnership with you and your hearing healthcare provider.  And we believe that journey should begin by making sure you’re as well informed as possible about your problem and all possible solutions.


Signs of a Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear.  Having trouble hearing can make it hard to respond to warnings, and to hear doorbells and alarms. It can also make it hard to enjoy talking with friends and family. All of this can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous.  Here are a few signs that you might have hearing loss.


Do others complain the TV is too loud?

Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy room?

Do you have more trouble hearing women than men?

Do you ask others to repeat themselves?

Do you avoid going out because you’ll struggle to hear?

Do you notice any ringing or buzzing sounds in either ear?

Who is more likely to experience hearing loss, men or women?

Men are more likely to experience hearing loss than women.

Who is the typical person suffering from tinnitus?
Of adults ages 65 and older in the United States, 12.3 percent of men and nearly 14 percent of women are affected by tinnitus. Tinnitus is identified more frequently in white individuals and the prevalence of tinnitus is almost twice as frequent in the South as in the Northeast.
What percentage of American adults report hearing loss?
Approximately 17 percent of American adults report some degree of hearing loss
How does exposure to loud noise impact your hearing?

Approximately 15 percent (26 million) of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.

Hearing Loss FAQ

About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.

Is there a connection between hearing loss and age?
There is a strong relationship between age and reported hearing loss: 18 percent of American adults 45-64 years old, 30 percent of adults 65-74 years old, and 47 percent of adults 75 years old or older have a hearing loss.

Contact Us

1211 West Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684

Telephone: (231) 947-2420

Office Hours: M-F 9:00 - 5:00

*We are closed every day from 12:00-1:00pm