What To Expect At A Hearing Test

If you’ve never had a hearing test, it can be normal to feel a little nervous beforehand. But more often than not, hearing tests aren’t as bad as you think. 

Hearing doesn’t just allow you to hear sounds, it allows you to communicate with others and can even enhance your mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. To help put your mind at ease, here’s what you can expect when you book in for a physical hearing test.

When to get a hearing test

There are a few telltale signs that you could be suffering from hearing loss and should book in for a test. If you experience any of the following, it could be worth booking in for a hearing test. Do you:

  • Struggle to understand conversations, especially in noisy environments?
  • Frequently turning up the volume on electronic devices like the television or radio?
  • Suffer from persistent ringing, buzzing or hissing sounds?
  • Struggle to hear clearly during phone conversations?
  • Miss important information in meetings?
  • Feel more irritable or depressed?
  • Avoid social situations that were once enjoyable?
  • Have difficulty following a fast-moving conversation?
  • Have others telling you that you have a hearing loss?

What happens in a hearing test?

Hearing tests involve more than just assessing your hearing. These non-invasive, painless assessments are designed to gather information about your auditory system. 

Here’s what to expect at a physical hearing test.

Review your medical history

To begin with, the clinician will start by asking about your medical history, including any hearing-related issues, exposure to loud noises or family history of hearing problems. They may inquire about specific symptoms, such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or dizziness, which can help in identifying potential underlying issues.

Talk about your lifestyle

The clinician will also chat with you about your lifestyle to help them better understand your specific hearing needs. This often involves talking about your hobbies and interests as well as your level of physical activity and job. 

Physical examination

Once your clinician has talked to you about your medical history, hearing issues and lifestyle, it’s time to get into the hearing test section of your appointment. This starts with a physical examination of your ears, known as an otoscope examination. 

The otoscope is used to view the inner workings of your ears. It checks for any visible issues, like earwax blockages or abnormalities in the ear canal.

Hearing test

Next, the clinician will take you through your actual hearing test. A pure-tone test is used to assess your hearing levels. During this test, you’ll be seated in a soundproof booth wearing headphones. The clinician will play a series of tones at different frequencies and volumes. You’ll indicate when you hear the sound by pressing a button or raising your hand. 

They’ll also take you through a speech recognition test to assess your ability to hear and understand speech. During this part of the test, your clinician will play recorded or live speech at different volumes. You’ll then repeat the words or sentences you hear.

The results of these assessments are plotted on a strip of paper known as an audiogram. It displays a graph that shows the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies.

Test results and solutions

Once the tests are complete, the clinician will discuss the results with you and provide recommendations based on the findings. If hearing loss is detected, your clinician will talk to you about treatment options, like hearing aids or other interventions. They’ll work with you to provide you with a tailored demonstration of the different options available to you based on your circumstances. They’ll also chat through your preferences in terms of size, colour and features to provide you with a tailored solution.

How long does a hearing test take?

As you now know, hearing tests tend to incorporate several different steps to determine your hearing. With this in mind, a comprehensive, physical hearing assessment can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. 

During this time, your clinician will chat with you about your medical history, lifestyle and hearing concerns before assessing the health of your ears and taking you through audiometric testing. They’ll then discuss your results and provide you with recommendations based on the findings. 

Where to get a hearing test

At iHear, we offer a range of hearing services at a number of clinics across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. To book a hearing test, simply head to our website to schedule an appointment or call us to chat about your current hearing challenges.

Online hearing tests

If you’re not able to make it to a clinic for a physical hearing test, you can book a free, easy-to-use hearing test online. Our online hearing test provides you with information about your hearing age, but it shouldn’t be used as a diagnostic evaluation. For a complete test and evaluation of your hearing, you should visit a qualified and licensed hearing care professional.