Do people mumble more than they used to?

This can be one of many signs that could indicate you are suffering from hearing loss. To find out for sure requires a hearing test. If you are unclear about what this involves then take a look at the who, what, where and when of hearing tests.

Who carries out a hearing test?

Not all hearing tests are carried out to the same depth. The simple answer to the best person to schedule a hearing test with is a qualified audiologist. But here are all the options:

  • An audiologist: An audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional, trained to degree level and above in all matters to do with ears and hearing health. They are hearing and ear health experts.
  • A physician: They tend to carry out simple tests that indicate if a full hearing test is required, and then suggest as much. In addition, it’s important to consult a physician if you experience dizziness or sudden hearing loss, as you may have an underlying medical condition
  • An ENT specialist: Under certain circumstances your physician may refer you to a hospital and to see an ear, nose and throat specialist.
  • A hearing aid dispenser: They have undergone a short training course which equips them with the knowledge to run a hearing test and dispense hearing devices for non-complicated cases of hearing loss.

What does the visit involve?

A basic hearing test involves taking a medical history, the test itself and discussing the results.

The hearing test itself is composed of several parts, none of which are painful. Not everyone needs all the elements, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist, who can run the right tests for your needs. Elements include:

  • Testing your ability to hear (You press a button when your hear the sound)
  • Testing your hearing against a noisy background
  • Testing the loudest noise you can comfortably hear
  • Testing your ability to recognize one and two syllable words
  • Checking how noise transmits through the bone of your skull

Where do I get a hearing test?

The options include:

  • A certified audiology clinic: Where you see an audiologist
  • An audiology clinics: Run by hearing aid dispensers, often to be found within big box stores.
  • The ENT department of a hospital: To see specialist consultants.

Most people should visit an audiologist first to determine what hearing issues are present. The audiologist will be able to help the majority of individuals with their auditory issues, including hearing loss, tinnitus and earwax impaction.

When do I need a hearing test?

Be alert for signs of hearing loss. Tell-tale clues include things like finding yourself asking people to repeat what they just said or struggling to keep up with group conversations. You may have missed phone calls, despite being at home, or your partner complains about how loud the TV is these days.

Remember, a hearing test is not painful and is the way ahead to identify any problems. This is important because hearing loss addressed early can protect you against complications such as depression or an increased risk of dementia.