Good hearing is critically important to a high quality of life. Visiting a hearing specialist is a key part of maintaining a healthy life, especially as you get older. In this article, we’ll see what you need to know about taking a hearing test (and why they are so important!)
At the hearing specialist
A hearing specialist, also known as audiologist
, is a doctor that specializes in hearing aids
, hearing issues, and particularly in preventing and treating hearing loss. Their job is to figure out how strong your hearing is, and if you have issues, to identify what solution will work best for you. In addition to your hearing, an audiologist will remove excess earwax, assess your balance and examine your ears for infections or other underlying problems.
To determine the need for a hearing test, you may have to pass a quick hearing screening first, which will tell your specialist if more examinations are needed.
If you fail the hearing screening, and in order to identify your hearing issues (if any), a hearing specialist will ask you several questions and perform a series of examinations, collectively known as the hearing test.
What will the hearing specialist ask?
Before the tests, audiologists will need the right information to identify what type of hearing loss you might be experiencing and how they can address it. So, it’s important to do your homework before your appointment. I.e., describe to yourself how you feel, know when the symptoms started and other such details.
What happens during a hearing test?
A hearing test consists of a series of examinations
that might cause you some anxiety at first, but there’s really nothing to worry about. All hearing tests are painless and there is no way to fail them; they’re there just to measure your hearing!
Here’s what a hearing test typically includes:
The Pure-Tone Test
This determines the faintest tone you can hear through each ear. Progressively fainter sounds are played through headphones, and you just have to tell your audiologist when you stop hearing them.
The Speech Reception Threshold Test
This is a follow-up test to the Pure-Tone Test and is used to confirm your hearing results by asking you to repeat simple two-syllable words.
The Speech in Noise Test
This test measures your brain’s ability to separate speech from noise. You basically listen to people talking in noisy environments.
The Bone Conduction Test
This is a specialized test that takes place only after hearing loss has been confirmed. The Bone Conduction Test helps determine the source of your hearing loss. It’s painless and quick.
The Speech Discrimination Test
The Speech Discrimination Test measures how well each of your ears understands speech when presented at a sufficient listening level based on your previous results.
The Familiar Voice Test
In addition to the above, a friend or family member may be asked to read a list of words and you will then asked to repeat them. This non-standard test can tell your audiologist how well you can cope in your home environment without the assistance of hearing aids.
How often should you visit your hearing specialist?
If you are experiencing chronic hearing problems, you should visit your hearing specialist at least once a year
to ensure your hearing aid is performing as it should and that your hearing remains the same.
A reputable hearing institute with qualified specialists
will help you improve your hearing, and make your life happier. As most hearing problems are easily treatable and may even be preventable when caught early, you should not ignore the symptoms, and never neglect visiting your hearing specialist!