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What does a hearing test feel like?

By AudioHearing
January 14, 2016

Have you been thinking about getting your hearing tested for a while?

Most people who suspect they have hearing loss, take several years to even get their hearing tested, and some people worry that it will hurt or that it’s a very costly and time consuming process.

Hearing Test

But there is nothing to worry about, a hearing test is a painless process that takes less than an hour, it shouldn’t cost you more than $120 – although you can usually get one cheaper on a special offer or eligible pensioners and veterans get them for free.

To reward our readers we are offering half price hearing tests for just $60! All you need to do is book a hearing test by calling 9596 9007 before 1 March 2016 and quote “AudioHearing Blog’ *

Step 1 – Making the Appointment

Calling and making the appointment, or walking into an Audiologists can be a big step, but don’t fear we are a very friendly bunch and just want to help.

Someone will have a quick chat with you, taking some details so we can put you on our system and asking a few questions about why you are getting a hearing test.
They will book you in on a day and time that suits you and will probably give you an appointment card, and we will remind you on the day before your appointment as well.

Try to book your appointment on a day where you can bring a family member or friend with you. We find it can be extremely helpful to have another person there to ask questions and remember what was said once the appointment was over. However it’s not imperative to bring someone and we are happy to explain everything in detail and even write things down to take home once your appointment is over.

Step 2 – Arrival
Once at the Audiology Office a friendly receptionist will ask you to fill in a case history, which will include your personal details and your hearing/medical history.

If you have come alone and have any issues reading or completing the form (they always have such tiny writing, don’t they!), just ask someone for help! They should be more than happy to answer any questions and even help fill in the form for you.

Make sure you fill in this case history as honestly and completely as you can, the more information the Audiologist has, the better they can help you.

Step 3 – Consultation
The audiologist will take you in to their consultation room and will go through the answers on your form as well as asking you a series of questions to best gauge where you are at. Although this is the least technical part of the consultation it’s one of the most important parts.

At this stage the Audiologist needs to know if there are any underlying medical conditions that could potentially influence the way they run the test, and specific thing they should look for.

It’s also important to know your state of mind, if you’re nervous they can talk you through different aspect of the test and how it will feel. It can feel a little scary to find out you may have hearing loss, but the earlier we do the test, the sooner you will know if there is anything wrong and if there is we can do something about it!

Based on your answers the Audiologist will run through the range of tests that are listed below, they may not run all of them, or may do them in a different order but this gives you a good idea of what will happen.

Ladies we recommend you take out any earrings with long posts at the back, as they may push into neck and can be a bit uncomfortable, which can distract you from the test and give you a false result.

Step 4 – Otoscopy
The Audiologist will look in your ear with the otoscope; this is to see if there is anything that may be obstructing the noise getting into your ear. They look for wax build-up, foreign objects, abnormalities in the ear canal and whether the ear drum is infected, ruptured or punctured.

If any of these things are present they may end the test at this point and recommend that we restart it once it has been rectified. We usually wait for any infection to clear, and will refer you to a doctor if needed.

We can remove wax, depending on how much there is, and whether is it compacted in the ear, you may need to have it loosened with some ear drops first.

Step 5 – Tympanometry
For this part the Audiologist holds a probe to your ears, one at a time, called a Tympanometer which makes little puffing noises into your ear, it’s blowing air into your ear and measuring how the air pressure changes. This tells the Audiologist whether there are any issues with the middle-ear function.

Step 6 – Pure Tone Audiometry – Air conduction
At this point the Audiologist will probably get you to sit in a sound proof booth, this cuts out any background noise so that you can concentrate on the test. However if you are uncomfortable in enclosed spaces tell them and they won’t close the door to the booth, there is no point in feeling panicked.

You will put on a pair of headphone and hold a small remote with a button on the top in one hand. The Audiologist will then play a series of beeps and whistles, each time you hear one of these noises you click the button. The audiologist will play the noises at different levels and to different ears until they have definitively measured the tones and levels at which you can hear.

Step 7 – Speech Discrimination Test
Now the Audiologist will play a series of words, which they will ask you to repeat back to them. Each will be a single word, played at different volumes to see if there is any distortion in your hearing and how you distinguish the words.

Step 8 – Pure Tone Audiometry – Bone Conduction
The audiologist will change the headphones to a different type that sits over your head and just behind the ear. This can feel a little tight, but it needs to be as the vibrations will run through your skull to see how you hear the noises.

They will play through a series of sounds/vibrations on each side and each time you hear one you will click the button on the remote just like you did with the beeps and whistles. This is to see how the sound conducts through the bones of the skull to the cochlea and hearing nerves.

Step 9 – Finished!
Your hearing test is now finished and the Audiologist will get you to come back out of the booth. They will run through your results and explain what needs to happen next, i.e. whether there is damage to the ear that your doctor needs to look at, if you should consider hearing aids or they may recommend how often you should get your hearing tested in the future.

There we go, that wasn’t painful at all was it?

This is the first part in our Facts about Hearing Loss Series, where we try to demystify hearing loss and the process of improving your hearing and your life. Watch out for our next article where we will look at what the results of your hearing test means.

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