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What to Expect at Your Hearing Test

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Ear Exam

If you have a hearing test scheduled, congratulations! You are taking an important first step in staying engaged in the world around you. If you haven’t had a hearing test before, you may wonder what to expect. While every office is different, here is what generally happens during a hearing test appointment.

Medical history

First, there will be a short review of your medical history. This portion of the appointment will go even smoother if you take a moment before the appointment to write down any major surgeries or illnesses you have had. If you are under a physician’s care for any condition such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or heart disease let the audiologist know. In addition, bring a list of all medications and supplements you are taking.

Visual exam

Next, the audiologist will look into your ears with an otoscope. This slender, lighted instrument is inserted in the ear. The audiologist performs this procedure to determine if your eardrum is healthy and in good condition, if your ears have excess wax and to assess the structure of the ear canal. A problem with the eardrum, canal structure or excess wax can make it difficult to hear properly.

Hearing tests

Next, you will be taken to a room for the pure tone portion of the hearing exam. You will wear a set of headphones and be instructed to make a signal when you hear a tone. You may have a button to press or you may be asked to make a hand sign to indicate you hear a sound. Make sure you understand the instructions before the test starts. During the first part of the exam, different sounds will be played to determine the softest sound you can hear. Each ear will be tested and the results charted on a graph known as an audiogram.

Additional tests such as speech audiometry can determine your ability to discern speech and tympanometry determines how the eardrum is functioning.

Audiogram review

After the tests are complete, the audiologist will review the results on the audiogram with you. The results for each ear are plotted and provide a visual representation of your ability to hear. If assistive hearing devices are necessary, the audiologist will discuss the options with you.

Have questions?

If you have any questions during the hearing test appointment, don’t be afraid to speak up. The audiologist is your very first hearing aid. Their job is to help you get the most out of the hearing ability you have. The audiologist will take the time to answer your questions, so be sure to ask away.