If you're about to have your first hearing test or you feel a bit hesitant about making an appointment, knowing what to expect can put you at ease. If you have ever had an eye test before, you might find the process a little similar. The audiologist will simply be looking at your ears and hearing instead of your eyes and sight. There are a few different steps you will go through to determine whether there are any issues and if you are experiencing any hearing loss. Have a look at these four things to expect when you go for your hearing test.

Speaking to an audiologist

Your hearing test will start with a consultation with an audiologist. You don't have to jump straight into having your ears and hearing examined. The audiologist will ask you questions about your medical history and about your family medical history too. You will discuss whether you have been ill recently and if you take any medication, as well as anything else that might have affected your hearing, such as exposure to loud noises. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have and to ensure your audiologist has all the information they need to give you the best treatment.

Physical examination

Before you have any hearing tests, your audiologist will perform a physical examination of your ears. To do this, they will use an instrument called an otoscope, which lets them look into your ear to your eardrum. They can check if your ear is injured or if there might be anything blocking your ear canal, such as earwax. Sometimes a possible physical cause for any hearing issues can be identified before you have any hearing tests.

Hearing tests

There are several different types of hearing tests that you will experience, which test your hearing in various ways. They include:

  • Diagnostic auditory examination – you will wear headphones, and your audiologist will play tones one at a time at different pitches and volumes. They might ask you to press a button when you can hear a sound, as they increase the volume.
  • Tympanometry – your audiologist uses a tympanometer to change the pressure in your ear briefly so that they can take measurements. This lets them examine the middle ear, eardrum and Eustachian tubes more closely.
  • Acoustic reflex thresholds – this test measures your stapedius muscle, which contracts to protect your ears from loud sounds. An air-tight seal in your ear will play a series of beeps, gradually getting louder.

Discussing the results

Once you have had all the tests, you will discuss the results with your audiologist. Your results will be shown on an audiogram, which shows your hearing ability using graphs and percentages. If you have any hearing loss, you will discuss possible treatments and next steps with your audiologist. They might suggest that you get a hearing aid or two hearing aids, or there might be other treatments or lifestyle options that could help you.