Medical and lifestyle questionnaire
It is always best to have your hearing tested by an experienced, qualified hearing aid audiologist. You would only go to a professional doctor for a medical check – your hearing healthcare is just as important, so give it the attention it deserves.
A test typically starts with the usual basic personal data which is, of course, kept under lock and key and completely confidential. There will be questions relating to your medical history, your lifestyle and the particular situations you struggle with most and which are the most important you would like improved. This allows the audiologist to build an overall picture of your hearing landscape.
There are few tests required for diagnostic purposes. The hearing aid audiologist will use modern, state-of-the-art equipment to look inside your ear to see if there are any blockages – wax, perhaps, an ear infection, or damage to the eardrum. Wax is very common and is part of the ear’s natural defense and if it is excessive, it needs to be cleared. This can be via irrigation or gentle vacuum micro-suction. Here are some of the steps that are taken
View ears using microscope
The vast majority of companies that do hearing tests do not use microscopes which allows other safer hands-free tasks to be completed at the same time.
Video-otoscopy: Images of your ears taken
Many do not use video-otoscopy, we do this so that you can see exactly what is going on in your ears. The more you are involved and the more you see the better you are able to understand what we are doing. You are not just a number you are a real human being.
Tympanometry to assess ear drum reflex and pressure
This is where we do a test to examine the condition of your middle ear. This gives us an idea of the mobility you have in the eardrum and the conduction bones.
We do this by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. Middle ear problems are often a result of the stiffening of the middle ear.
This test helps us in diagnosing between sensorineural and conductive hearing issues
Speech in noise test to determine discrimination
A speech test is performed and can be in background noise to determine how many words are scored correctly, indicating the amount of correction required. Speech discrimination tests rarely performed by other companies but we think that this is an important part of the process.
Puretone audiogram within a sound booth
Next, you will go into the soundproof booth and put on some headphones or ear inserts. You will be in visual contact with the hearing aid audiologist at all times through the glass window. A series of tones and sounds will be played to you at varying volumes through the headphones, and you simply press a button to signal when you have heard each one. These sounds are carefully designed to span the spectrum of frequencies so that by the end of the test we will have a clear picture of where your hearing is strongest and where it is weakest. The results are plotted on a simple graph called an Audiogram.
All of the partner practices in the South East Hearing Care Centres network have soundproof hearing booths which allow precise measurement of your hearing(. Self-testing on a computer can give you a rough idea, but nothing beats a personal, one-to-one consultation with a professional who can put you at ease, answer all your questions and explain exactly what your particular situation is.
While some companies will not use a soundproof booth, we believe that this is required to make sure that we get the most accurate results possible
Hearing aid & hearing loss simulation
This is to give you an idea of what it is like to hear using a hearing aid as well as what it would be like to have a total hearing loss. Not all companies have hearing loss and hearing aids simulation software.
Full explanation of results
Once we have done all of the tests we will sit down with you and go through what we have found explaining what our findings mean to you and answering any questions you may have.
How long will a hearing test take?
For us to do a full test will take about 90 mins. This allows us to be thorough and cover as many tests as possible. Many of the larger chains just don’t have the time to spend 90 mins on each hearing test.
This means you will leave here assured that we have done everything in our power to assess and accurately diagnose exactly what is causing your hearing loss. Knowing what this means we are better able to offer the right solution for you.