Any phrase with the word ‘test’ in it, may seem intimidating. Happily, there is nothing to be concerned about with a hearing test. If you are considering one for the first time, these frequently asked questions will help to put your mind at ease.

1. Where do I get a hearing test?

Although a hearing test is a medical procedure, they are rarely performed by a physician. Instead, it’s advisable to visit another member of the medical profession, an audiologist. There are many audiology clinics to choose from, so it’s a good idea to get recommendations from friends and family to select an audiologist you feel comfortable with.

2. Does it matter if I visit a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) or an audiologist?

An HIS can also run hearing tests, but their knowledge is more superficial than an audiologist’s (who is trained to degree level or above in hearing health). For those wishing for an in-depth analysis of their hearing and unbiased advice about the best device to correct their needs, then an audiologist is the best choice.

3. How long does a hearing test take?

Be prepared for a hearing test to take at least one hour, possibly a little longer depending how many tests will need to be performed. During this time the audiologist will ask you to fill in information about your medical history and discuss your hearing issues. They will physically examine your ears and then conduct several (non-painful) hearing tests. Finally, the audiologist talks through your results and offers advice on how best to correct any problems.

4. What do I need to take with me?

Bring along details of any medications you take and be prepared to share your medical history. Where relevant, take details of any medical insurance policy that you are hoping will contribute towards costs.

If you are suffering from hearing loss, consider asking a friend or family member to go with you as an extra pair of ears. Although audiologists are experts at communicating with the hard of hearing, this is a time when you may need to absorb lots of information so having a friend there can be invaluable.

5. When will I know the results?

The audiologist explains their findings immediately the test has finished. They will discuss any hearing abnormalities and the best course of treatment to take, if needed.

6. What happens next if I do have hearing loss?

The audiologist will paint a picture of your hearing needs, both in terms of hearing loss correction and any special challenges to your hearing, such a participating in sports or regularly attending concerts. From this they will advise you on the best models of hearing devices to match your needs, and help you decide what to do next.

7. How often should I get my hearing checked?

In the same way you have regular dental and eye checks, you should also have regular hearing checks. The standard advice is to make this part of your annual health routine, as hearing loss can often go undetected.