hearing tests

What to expect during a hearing test

Perhaps you’ve scheduled a hearing test and are wondering what to expect, or maybe you are considering a hearing test but aren’t sure if you really need one. Either way, this article is for you!

By addressing hearing damage early through professional hearing care, you stand to experience many benefits – not only to your hearing health, but to your overall health and well being. The first step to enjoy better hearing is to schedule a comprehensive hearing screening from a licensed hearing care professional in your area. 

In this article we’ll discuss what to expect during your hearing test, the types of exams, how to understand your test results (audiogram) as well as treatment options available to you.

Hearing Tests: The Basics

By scheduling a hearing test, you’re taking the first step to better hearing health. Incredibly, 48 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss, with that number rising to one in three people over the age of 65. Despite hearing loss being the third most common medical condition in the country, the majority of people wait an average of seven years to seek treatment. Since hearing damage typically happens gradually over time, many people don’t even notice changes to their normal hearing until it’s quite advanced.

The sense of hearing is incredibly important in many aspects of our lives, most notably in our personal relationships with friends and family. It is always encouraged that you bring a loved one to your hearing test and any follow up appointments so that you have someone with a familiar voice present.

1) Consultation

When you come in for your hearing test, the first step is the consultation with a hearing specialist. They’ll gather basic personal information including your personal medical history, whether you are being treated for any conditions at the current time, and whether you are on any medications. You will also be asked about your family’s medical history and whether there is a history of hearing loss.

You’ll discuss when you first noticed changes in your hearing, as well as particular moments in the day and specific environments in which you find hearing to be the most difficult.

Finally, you’ll discuss your employment, exposure to loud noises, daily activities, hobbies, etc. with your hearing specialist, as all of this is important in identifying any potential causes of hearing loss in your routine.

2) Ear Exam

Following the consultation, your hearing specialist will conduct a painless and non-invasive physical examination. The specialist will use an otoscope, an instrument that allows them to look inside your ear. Your hearing specialist is checking on the physical health of your ear, to see if there is any damage to your ear canal or ear drum, fluid in your middle ear or if there is any blockage noted. These factors may contribute to changes in your hearing and could result in a referral to see an ENT for further examination.

3) Hearing Exams

After the physical examination, your hearing specialist will ask you to sit in a soundproof space and give you instructions for a series of hearing exams.

Pure Tone Audiometry

Pure Tone Testing is a simple way to determine the softest sounds you are able to hear During the pure-tone hearing exam, your hearing specialist will play tones at different frequencies and volumes through a set of headphones. If you hear a sound, you will be asked to simply raise your hand.

Speech Recognition Testing

Next, your provider will perform a speech recognition exam. During speech testing, your hearing specialist will read a series of words at different volumes and distances from you. You will be asked to simply repeat what you’ve heard. This is important because for those with hearing loss, speech recognition is often compromised causing difficulties hearing well in social situations with a lot of background noise, noisy environments or the voices of young children.

4) Review the Audiogram (Hearing Test Results)

The results of your hearing exam will be recorded in whats called an audiogram. An audiogram is a visual representation of your hearing abilities, recorded by ear. The speech recognition exam results will be recorded as a percentage. The audiogram will indicate if a hearing loss is present, and if so, the degree and which frequencies of the hearing loss. Your hearing specialist will review the results of your audiogram with you and answer any questions you may have.

5) Discuss Treatment Options

Most hearing loss can be treated with the prescription of digital hearing aids, even for individuals with severe hearing loss. Modern hearing aids are discreet and technologically advanced, offering wearers a host of features to make their day to day lives much more comfortable.

If the results of your hearing test show a need for hearing aids, your provider will recommend the best device for you based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle and budget requirements. Each hearing aid is customized to meet your specific hearing needs with follow up appointments included to make tweaks to the programming as needed. With the help of your provider, you’ll be able to hear conversations (and your television) at a comfortable level once again!

If you are experiencing changes in your hearing, we invite you to schedule a free hearing test at an Ear to Hear location near you. We’ll help you every step of the way to better hearing!

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