4 Things to Expect at Your Hearing Test
Whether you’re concerned about potential hearing loss or simply wish to have an audiologist check your hearing health, the thought of attending your first hearing test can be quite scary. In truth though, the sense of the unknown is the worse factor of all. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with what to expect from your appointment should be top of the agenda.
While there are several variables to consider depending on a number of factors such as your age and whether hearing loss is detected during the examinations, most hearing test appointments follow the same fundamental processes. Here’s what to expect:
A discussion about your medical history
Before conducting any hearing test, the audiologist will want to paint a clearer image of your situation. This information can be very useful, especially if hearing loss is detected, as it may provide insight into the reasons behind the condition.
Discussions are likely to include full information about your medical history, any medications you are currently taking, any hearing loss or tinnitus symptoms that you’ve experienced. The audiologist will also want to know about any family history of hearing loss or related conditions. In addition to gaining valuable insight, it offers the audiologist to see how you follow conversations.
A visual inspection
The examination processes usually begin with a physical inspection of your ear. The audiologist will look at the outer ear or any signs of abnormalities that could potentially cause hearing loss or related problems. Following this, an otoscope will be used to look for abnormalities in the ear canal as well as signs of damage to the cochlea hairs that carry sound.
In addition to abnormalities and issues that could cause long-term hearing loss, this is a chance for the audiologist to spot wax build ups or infections. Therefore, the visual inspection can be considered a significant part of the hearing test appointment.
The hearing tests
An audiologist will want to conduct several hearing tests to examine every aspect of your hearing. A speech test will be used to check how you follow dialogue in quiet spaces as well as noisy spaces. A pure tone test will measure the range of pitches that you can detect while a pressure test (tympanometry) checks the flexibility of your eardrum. All are important examinations.
Otoacoustic Emissions testing and acoustic reflex tests may also be used. The findings will help the audiologist detect the type and severity (if any) of hearing loss. In some cases, additional examinations at a later date may be required. In most cases, though, the 60-90 minute hearing test will suffice.
Aftercare, fittings and repeat appointments
The final stages of your hearing test will depend on the outcome. If your hearing is perfectly normal, the audiologist will simply suggest booking a repeat hearing test in 12 months time. If there is an issue though, a number of solutions may be suggested.
Hearing aids are the most common solution, which is why a hearing aid fitting appointment will be required. Different device types, features and accessories may be discussed too. Meanwhile, sound therapy and ear protection may be utilized. Whatever the situation, the audiologist will also offer great aftercare to ensure that you acclimatize to the hearing aids and other changes in style.