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A Guide to Hearing Tests

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Ear Exam

Every now and then, a visit to your regular physician can result in a recommendation that you should see an audiologist for a hearing test. You should, ideally, be having your hearing tested once every ten years until age 50, and then every three years after that unless you suspect an issue with your hearing before then. Hearing tests aren’t just for the elderly; while age is a factor in hearing declining, there are many other reasons for hearing loss.

Why you should book the test

Initially, people who book to see their audiologist do so because they notice a change in their hearing ability. If you are in a position where you to ask friends and family to repeat themselves over, or you’re slowly turning your television up louder and louder, you may need to book your test sooner than later. Hearing loss is a gradual process, which is why so many don’t realize that there is a problem until someone close to them points it out.

What’s the cause?

There are several different causes of hearing loss, and a hearing test can determine how severe the loss is and whether it is temporary or permanent. Some of the instances that you could lose your hearing are:

  • Working with loud machinery for a long period of time can damage your hearing.
  • Using power tools often over time.
  • Heading to a concert? If you’re doing this regularly and standing close to speakers, you could suffer hearing damage.
  • Ear infections and illnesses can affect your hearing.
  • A buildup of earwax

Is a hearing test painful?

There is nothing painful at all about a hearing test. Your audiologist will take you through two tests to check how bad your hearing has become, and they’ll be able to recommend whether your hearing loss is reversible or not. You will listen to noises at different tones and pitches to test how your hearing has been affected, and then you will have to listen to speech at varying volumes to see how well you can hear in different situations.

Should you worry about the results?

The results of a hearing tests are not black and white. You won’t fail, and you won’t pass it; there is a sliding scale of hearing and the test that you have with your audiologist can tell you whether both ears are affected and how badly. Hearing loss up to 25 decibels is normal, but anything after that goes between mild loss and severe.

Treatment routes

You can’t restore hearing loss once it’s happened, but you can use hearing aids to make it easier to manage. There are different styles of hearing aid and your audiologist will talk to you about the options, ensuring that you are comfortable with your choices before you leave their office.

Alongside hearing aids, you can learn to read lips and take sign language lessons. Your audiologist can support you with your hearing loss and you can have regular appointments if you’re concerned about any changes.