Hearing loss can creep up gradually, without you realising it at first. Some sounds remain audible while others become softer and harder to hear. If you notice that you are having hearing issues, that communicating with others is becoming increasingly challenging and requires more effort, there are a number of choices you can make regarding your hearing loss.
However, the first and easiest step is to get your hearing tested. It is probably the easiest test you will ever take. A hearing test is quick, simple, and painless and in most cases the results are instant. If you have never visited an Audiologist, you probably don’t know what to expect, so in this blog, we are going to focus on everything you can expect on your first visit to an audiologist. A hearing consultation is an interesting and informative experience that will provide you with a better understanding of your hearing. It is your first step towards better life-long hearing.
Hearing is crucial for your quality of life
Hearing loss is a very common issue, with about one in two adults over the age of 50 experiencing some degree of it. This comes as a surprise to most people who have lived with their hearing loss for years.
Having a hearing loss does not mean that you have lost your hearing. However, you may need to do something about it if you want to continue living the life you want.
We know from experience that a decrease in hearing levels can happen for many different reasons. This could be anything from exposure to excessive noise, to a chronic ear infection or something as simple as ear wax.
Hearing is a vital link to the world, a source of pleasure, information, and communication. Hearing contributes to personal safety, emotional wellbeing, and independence. Through your hearing, you are able to communicate with others and experience all the important moments in life. It is important that your hearing is working at its best in all situations. Having your hearing tested by a qualified Audiologist is an important step in learning how to get the most out of your hearing.
Did you know?
- - Untreated hearing loss makes it difficult to follow conversations and is often very exhausting
- - Untreated hearing loss often leads to reduced contact with family and friends, which can turn into feelings of isolation and depression.
- - Untreated hearing loss makes it difficult to stay connected to communication and entertainment devices like TV and phones
Do you have doubts about your hearing test?
As we mentioned, it’s probably the easiest test you’ll ever take, but it’s only natural to have some doubts or concern prior to your appointment.
There are a number of different testing methods but most start with brief questions about the health of your ear, your general health, and your lifestyle. These questions determine the cause and nature of your possible hearing loss, the effect it has on you and what solutions are likely to suit your needs.
A physical examination of your ears is performed to eliminate any medical problems, for example infections or blockages such as ear wax. Otoscopy is an examination that involves looking into the ear canal with a microscope. Inspection of the eardrum can also provide information about what is happening within the middle ear.
Pure Tone Audiometry
Amongst all the tests that can be performed on your hearing, pure tone audiometry is the most common. The objective of this is to record the quietest sound you can hear at different pitches. A set of headphones is worn over the ears or foam earphones placed in the ear canal; and you may be required to sit in a sound-proof test room. The headphones are then connected to the audiometer. Sounds are played into the headphones, one ear at a time.
You will be asked to indicate when you can hear the sound by pressing a response button or raising your hand. Our Audiologist will play a range of notes from high to low at different volumes to find out how well you can hear different sounds. Your results will then be analysed, and results compared to what is considered to be within normal limits.
Our Audiologist will plot the results on a graph called an audiogram which will show the quietest sounds you can hear.
Your Audiologist will explain all results clearly to you. At that point, you can begin to plan the next steps together and look at possible solutions.
To make the most of the consultation it’s best to come prepared. Before your appointment, spend some time thinking about how hearing affects your life, what challenges you are experiencing, and what would improve if you could overcome these challenges. Some other ways you can prepare are:
- - Ask your family and friends who have noticed changes in your hearing to make a list of what they have noticed.
- - Make a list of key medical information related to issues you have had with your ears.
- - Make a list of medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking.
- - Summarise your work history, especially any roles that may have exposed you to any noise.
- - Make a list of any questions you have for your Audiologist.
Possible questions to ask when your hearing assessment is complete:
- - What type of hearing loss do I have?
- - How bad is my hearing loss?
- - If I choose a hearing aid what types are available and what do they look like?
- - Would I need one or two hearing aids and why?
- - What are the benefits of wireless hearing aids?
- - What technologies (iPhone, iPad, TV) can these hearing aids connect to?
Audiology Medical Services
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one’s hearing, we are here to help you through this challenging process. To make an appointment to talk to one of Audiology Medical Services’ clinically trained professional audiologists, available at clinics nationwide, freephone 1800 501 501.