Hearing tests in adults

Hearing, along with your other senses, plays an important role in your overall wellbeing and connection to the wider community. Regular hearing tests and early intervention by a hearing professional can help prevent negative impacts from hearing loss.

Key points about hearing tests:

  • Hearing tests are used to find out what is causing your hearing loss and what treatment you might need.
  • Hearing tests are performed by trained audiologists.
  • There are no risks with hearing tests.

How do I know if I need a hearing test?

There may be a number of experiences you are having that suggest it would be a good idea to have your hearing checked.

For example if you:

  • Often need to ask people to repeat what they are saying.
  • Have trouble understanding a conversation or mishears people in a group or when there’s background noise.
  • Think people are mumbling, or not speaking clearly.
  • Need to turn up the volume on the TV to be able to hear it comfortably.
  • Tend to avoid some social situations because of too much background noise making it hard to hear conversations.
  • Feel tired after trying to listen or have a conversation for a while.
  • Find you need to move closer to a speaker in order to hear what they are saying.
  • Need to see people’s faces to understand what they’re saying.
  • Find it difficult to know where sounds are coming from.

If some of these situations apply to you, talk to your doctor or arrange for a hearing test to be done. You can find an audiologist near you on this directory.

What will my hearing test involve?

The audiologist (hearing specialist) will begin by asking about your full hearing health history and will examine your ear canal with an otoscope. This helps them identify any problems that may affect the hearing test results, such as build-up of ear wax or burst eardrum. 

Wearing headphones, you’ll do a ‘tone test’ and listen to ‘beeps’ at different pitches. When you hear them you let the tester know, usually by pressing a button. The beeps get quieter until you no longer hear them. In addition, your cochlea (inner ear involved in hearing) may be tested and you may be given a speech test, which detects your ability to hear and understand sounds of speech.

These tests help your audiologist to get a full understanding of your hearing abilities and ear health. There are no risks with hearing tests.

Image credit: Canva

What happens after the hearing test?

The results will show if you have any hearing loss. Your audiologist will discuss the results with you and, if necessary, will provide a recommendation for what help you to hear properly.

Learn more

NZ Audiological Society 

References

Hearing health checklist New Zealand Audiological Society
Hearing tests New Zealand Audiological Society
Hearing tests NHS, UK, 2020

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.