Top FAQs About Hearing Tests

man wearing blue polo shirt having hearing examined in professional ear doctor's office

While it’s common to have hearing screenings throughout childhood, many of us have not had a hearing test in adulthood. What do they entail, and how long do they take? Utilize the following frequently asked questions to get a better feel for what you can expect during your hearing test.

How can I prepare for a hearing test?

A hearing test isn’t like a school test, so you don’t need to do anything, in particular, to prepare for it. Your audiologist will talk to you about your perceptions of your own hearing and whether you’ve noticed any changes since your last test.

If you’re going to a new audiologist, you may want to bring some medical information with you, such as the results of a previous hearing test and the prescriptions you take. This information will help the audiologist better diagnose the source of your hearing loss. It will also let them compare past results with present ones.

What tests do audiologists conduct during a hearing test?

The phrase “hearing test” is actually a catch-all term for a battery of tests that audiologists have at their disposal. Most hearing tests include a pure-tone test. Here, the audiologist pipes sound at specific frequencies to your ears through a pair of headphones. You then indicate when you can hear a sound. You may have had this test at school when you were younger.

Audiologists also conduct so-called “speech tests.” These involve listening to a conversation and repeating back the words you hear. The purpose of the test is to determine where you have difficulty hearing certain noises common in speech, such as “th” and “f” sounds. Audiologists may also conduct other types of tests to determine why you might be losing your hearing. Certain tests can pick up which part of the ear is having trouble, providing you with a more refined diagnosis.

How long do hearing tests take?

We live in a fast-paced world. For that reason, people often want to know how long a hearing test takes. Most tests take between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the amount and series of evaluations you require. Hearing tests can sometimes include a hearing aid fitting. If so, then they may last an hour or more. Please note that hearing aid tests and hearing aid fittings are two different things.

How do I interpret the results of a hearing test?

Once you complete the various hearing tests, the audiologist will show you your audiogram. An audiogram is just a chart that displays the softest sounds your ears can hear at various pitches. So, for instance, you might be able to hear quiet noises at low pitches but only loud sounds at high pitches.

The audiologist will then run through the implications of your results. Sometimes, they will give you a clean bill of health or tell you that your hearing is the same as the last time you came to the office. Other times, they will diagnose you with a new type of hearing loss, ranging from mild to profound, or recommend that you wear hearing aids.

Do hearing tests take earwax obstruction into account?

Standard pure tone and voice-hearing tests do not take the effect of earwax obstruction on your ears into account. But, fortunately, audiologists can and do.

If you have impacted earwax that is affecting your ability to hear, the audiologist will recommend you get it removed before you conduct a hearing test. This way, they can isolate the impact of the earwax from the general health of your ears.

Do I need a hearing test if I already have hearing aids?

Yes, absolutely. If you wear hearing aids, you should return to the audiologist regularly to check that your hearing loss hasn’t changed. Hearing loss can evolve over time. You may require hearing aid adjustments or could benefit from a different style or features completely when it does.

Can I combine a hearing test with a hearing aid fitting?

Most audiologists allow you to combine a hearing test with a hearing aid fitting. Usually, you book the two together if you are confident that you have hearing issues. At the end of the hearing test, the audiologist uses the results to recommend various hearing aid models to you. You then select one that you feel will best suit your lifestyle.

Book a hearing test today

If you feel you need a hearing test, you can book one with Nola Aronson’s Advanced Audiology today. Just call (661) 253-3277 to arrange your appointment.