What Happens During a Hearing Test?
If you are due to attend your first hearing test soon, you are probably wondering what will happen during the appointment. Below, we have sought to address this issue, so you can arrive for your appointment feeling confident and relaxed in the days leading up to your appointment.
Preparing for the test
- Your audiologist will ask for necessary health information, including any prescription medications you may be taking
- Your audiologist will then (painlessly) examine your ears using an otoscope
- You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and receive further guidance on what will happen during your hearing test
The hearing test itself
You may be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as a hearing test; there are actually a number of different procedures that fall under the banner of hearing testing. While it is highly unlikely you will experience all of these in the same appointment, here’s a brief overview of what you should expect from each specific type:
- Pure-tone test. This test is the most common form of hearing test. You will wear headphones and a number of different sounds will then be played. If you can hear the sound, you will indicate this to the audiologist by pressing a button or – less commonly – raising your hand. The sound will then be lowered, or the frequency changed and you will again indicate if you can hear it. If you cannot hear a particular sound, you do not need to respond. Your responses to each different sound will then be plotted onto an audiogram.
- Speech and word recognition test. This test, which is commonly conducted during a hearing test, measures how well you hear and understand the spoken word. You will wear earphones, then listen to a series of words at different volumes; you will then be required to repeat the words you hear to the audiologist, who will note your responses.
In addition to the above hearing tests, it is highly likely that your audiologist will use tympanometry to test the condition of your middle ear, conduction bones and eardrum. This is achieved by changing the air pressure in your ear canal and monitoring the response.
Finally, you may also undergo a tuning fork test. This involves a tuning fork being placed behind your ear. When the fork vibrates, it creates a sound; how you interpret the tone will advise your audiologist on how sound is moving through your ears.
After the hearing test
Your audiologist will discuss your test results with you and make recommendations on further treatment if required. If you’d like to know more about what you can expect from your hearing test, talk to the audiologist beforehand to ensure you are prepared and most importantly – comfortable!