Hearing Test

Everything you need to know about hearing tests.

You may have your teeth and eyes checked regularly, but what about your ears?

It’s recommended that everyone over the age of 55 has a hearing test at least once a year – or more regularly if you feel your hearing as deteriorated.

My Hearing Test has the information you need to know about hearing tests. Whether you’ve had one before or never thought to visit your local audiologist, your questions and concerns are covered.

What is hearing loss?

Before you delve into what a hearing test is and how it works, it’s important to know what hearing loss is, the different types and the signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Hearing loss affects approximately 11 million people in the UK – that’s one in six of us.

Some types of hearing loss occur when there is damage caused to the hair cells inside the ear. When healthy, these hair cells would help pass sounds from the outer ear, through to the eardrum to get passed to and processed in the brain. When the hair cells are damaged, they no longer work as they should and it becomes more difficult for the sound to pass through the ear. As a result, a loss of hearing occurs.

Types of hearing loss that are caused this way include;
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Age related hearing loss
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
Other types of hearing loss, including genetic, congenital and conductive hearing loss.
  • Congenital hearing loss relates to hearing loss that is present at birth. This can be hereditary(Genetic hearing loss) or non-hereditary.
  • Conductive hearing loss relates to when sound cannot pass freely through the ear.

The signs and symptoms can vary depending on age (noticing hearing loss in small children will be different to noticing it in older adults) and type of loss. Age related hearing loss is likely to be a gradual development over time, while noise-induced hearing loss has the potential to be sudden.

Some signs to watch out for are;
  • Having the television/ radio at a louder volume than previously.
  • Struggling to hear a conversation in a loud environment.
  • Asking others to repeat themselves, particularly when they are not facing you or speaking to you from another room.

Step-by-step: What happens during a hearing test?
A hearing test can take up to an hour to ensure a full assessment is carried out.

Before the test

There will be some lifestyle questions – getting to know you, about your lifestyle and what activities you enjoy participating in.

There will then be questions about your medical history with emphasis on any previous hearing problems as well as any problems that prompted you to book a test.

Getting to know more about you allows your audiologist to find the best solution for you.

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Before the test

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During the test

The health of your ears will be checked by way of a physical assessment. There will be a thorough look inside your ears and ear canal using an Otoscope to ensure there are no obvious signs of damage, wax build up or infections.

If all is well, your audiologist will test your hearing using a set of headphones. Sounds will be played into one ear or the other and you’ll be asked to push a button to acknowledge you heard the sound. Each sound will be a different volume and pitch to thoroughly check which sounds you can hear and which you can’t. The results from the test will be recorded on an audiogram.

After the hearing test

The results from your hearing test are normally discussed with you straight away. If there is any degree of hearing loss detected, the causes will be discussed with you.

If the loss of hearing can be improved with the help of a hearing aid, your audiologist will take you through the devices available to you. Each hearing aid is different and can help you in different ways – some are more suitable for each type and degree of hearing loss than others.

Opting for a hearing aid? The audiologist will go through the options and fitting of the hearing aid with you. Hearing aids can be programmed to fit your exact needs.

The different types of hearing loss available.
As with any industry, there can be a lot of jargon thrown around. This section will aim to debunk that for you and help you understand all about the range of hearing tests available to you.

  • Online hearing test – these are tests that are available on the internet. They can be a convenient way to monitor your hearing over a period of time. If an online test concludes that you may have a loss of hearing or you feel you have a problem, it’s advised you see an audiologist for a full hearing test as soon as you can.
  • Hearing test in a branch – many hearing companies will have specialist centres or branches where you can have your hearing tested. These branches are often state-of-the-art and ideal places for you to have your hearing checked. As well as being in the right environment for a hearing test, a qualified audiologist will conduct the test so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.
  • Home visits – there are a select few hearing test providers in the UK that provide home visits for those who are unable to make it into a specialist hearing centre but would like to have a hearing test with an audiologist. These are a popular choice for someone who may not live close to a hearing test centre or have issues with mobility.

The hearing solutions available.
Due to the varying causes of hearing loss, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

In some cases, a hearing loss may be caused by a build-up of ear wax within the ear – the solution for which is an ear wax removal to unblock the ear. In other cases, hearing loss may be more permanent and other solutions may need implementing.

Hearing aids are a key solution for those who experience a hearing loss. With the latest technology, hearing aids come in more styles than ever before. They are smaller, more discreet and more comfortable than their predecessors with the power to make a positive impact in your life.

Styles range from the classic “Behind-the-Ear” design to the new “Invisible-in-Canal” hearing aid, which can be virtually invisible (depending on the anatomy of the ear).

Note: it’s advised you never buy hearing aids online – always take a test with a qualified audiologist to be sure you’re getting the best care and value available.

Benefits to getting your hearing tested.
Hearing loss can have a huge impact on your life. Some of the consequences of leaving hearing loss untreated are;

  • Depression and less social activity.
  • Anxiety and insecurity.
  • Emotional turmoil.

As well as these consequences, hearing loss is also linked to other health concerns, such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease and a higher risk of stroke. Having your hearing tested may prompt you to have a full health check to ensure all is well with your health.

Not only does a loss of hearing have an effect on you, your social activity and possibly your physical wellbeing, it can also have an impact on your relationships with close friends and loved ones.

However, there are benefits to having your hearing tested, such as;
  • Better relationships with families, friends and loved ones.
  • More confidence and independence.
  • More social activity and participation.
  • Improved overall mental wellbeing.
Why delay getting your hearing tested?