What Happens During a Hearing Test?

an audiologist using a specialized ear doctor's tool to examine a patient's ear

If you haven't been for a hearing test before you might have some anxieties about what is involved. It might seem like a simple appointment, something like the dentist or more involved, like a hospital appointment. In truth, it sits somewhere between the two, however there is little to fear or to be concerned about. Read on to find out more about what you can expect at your hearing test. 

There is a physical exam

A hearing test isn't free from a physical examination like you might have thought from reading articles on testing. Pure-tone tests and speech tests don't require any physical exams; but there is a small physical prior to the formal hearing tests. 

Your audiologist will use an instrument called an otoscope to physically examine your ear canal. They will check for wax buildup and the condition of your eardrum. Sometimes this instrument is digital and it will display your inner ear on a digital screen.  

The audiologist will ask questions

Prior to your hearing test there is a consultation with your audiologist. Your audiologist needs to see your medical records and any medication you take. They will also need to talk to you about your hearing issues in order to decide what test and possible treatment options you need. 

During this consultation it is very important that you give a clear picture of your issues. Describe them in detail and outline the type of hearing problems you have and in different situations. This will help the audiologist determine the best course of treatment. 

You’ll have a series of tests

Not surprisingly you will be given a hearing test following your consultation. There are several hearing tests available to audiologists and the ones they select will help gather the necessary days to make decisions about your future treatment. 

The most common tests used are the pure-tone test and the speech test. You may also have a bone conduction test. These tests are all very easy and comfortable for you. They are non-invasive and completely pain free. 

You’ll get immediate results

Following your hearing test, you can expect the results while you wait. The data gathered during the test is put onto an audiogram which tells the story of your current hearing. This graph gives you a map of your range of hearing. 

Using this data your audiologist will suggest some future treatment this may involve returning for further tests or to discuss a hearing device. It's great that you don't have to wait for your result and you can make necessary changes right away. 

The results can surprise you 

Although you may go to an audiologist with a hearing issue, you may not realize the extent of the issue. You might encounter further issues uncovered by the data of the testing. In general people think their hearing is better than it is.

Although this might be slightly scary you shouldn't let it put you off. The more you know about your hearing capacity, the better you can make decisions about your lifestyle and your hearing device options.