A hearing test is a routine treatment and one of the most common services that your audiologist provides. It’s nothing to worry about, but you may want to know what exactly you’re getting into so that you can arrive for your test as relaxed and prepared as possible.
Whether you have an upcoming test or you’re considering scheduling an appointment for one and want to know more about it, here we’re going to look at what exactly you can expect from your hearing test.
At the start of the appointment
To begin with, we will welcome you to the practice and the front desk team will take your details, including personal and insurance information. Once your audiologist is ready for you, you will sit down in their office to help them get a better idea of your current concerns and health situation.
It’s recommended to bring your medical history, including family history of hearing loss and any medication that you’re currently taking. Your audiologist will also ask questions about your lifestyle and occupation. All of this information is designed to better help them be aware of risk factors to look out for and to provide more accurate diagnoses of potential hearing loss and their causes.
The visual examination
This step involves the use of an otoscope, which is a handheld device with a magnifying scope that is held against the opening of the ear canal. It’s a little cool but won’t cause any discomfort.
This device is used to take a closer look at the ear and to immediately spot any visually identifiable risk factors, like an earwax buildup or the symptoms of an ear infection. If any of these are spotted, then the audiologist may instead recommend treating these before continuing with the rest of the hearing test.
The hearing tests
Providing that the visual examination goes as expected, your audiologist will then follow up with a range of hearing tests. The purpose of these tests is to better understand your whole range of hearing. For all tests, you will be placed in a soundproof booth and given a pair of headphones. The audiologist will observe from another area. These may include the pure-tone and speech test.
The pure-tone test will involve the audiologist playing a range of different tones at different volume levels and different pitches. You may be asked to press a button when you hear the tone or to provide verbal confirmation that you hear it.
The speech test will involve the audiologist playing words and sentences at different volume levels and different pitches. They may also add or reduce background noise to see how clearly you can make out speech in different environments.
All the results of these tests help the audiologist complete an audiogram, which is a form that records the full range of your hearing.
The ear pressure test
While not always necessary, the audiologist may also perform ear pressure tests. The purpose of these tests is to see how well your eardrum vibrates in reaction to noises while under various levels of ear pressure.
To do this, two procedures known as tympanometry and acoustic reflex thresholds are often performed together. This involves placing a device with an ear tip in your ear. You will hear beeps that get progressively louder and may feel changes in your ear pressure as this happens.
This test does not cause pain or discomfort, but you may experience the same sensations you would have when ascending in an airplane.
Following your appointment
Your audiologist will sit down with you following your hearing tests to help you look over the results. With the audiogram, they will be able to effectively diagnose any hearing loss as well as the type and severity of it and may outline specific causes. If you do suffer from any hearing loss, they recommend a future appointment to talk about treatment options, including hearing aid selection and fittings. Otherwise, they will likely provide advice on how to best protect your hearing in the future. As licensed, trained medical professionals, audiologists are the best equipped to diagnose any issues with hearing loss, so it’s best to arrange an appointment with them directly.
If you have any other questions about your hearing test or you don’t have one scheduled but believe you might need it, get in touch with us. Call us at one of our locations and we’ll be glad to answer any questions or schedule your appointment.