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Hearing Test: Purpose, Procedure and Results

a young man having his ear examined by an audiologist

Every now and again, you may be asked to have a hearing test by your doctor. You shouldn’t assume that something is wrong, this is just how they make sure your ears are working well. 

As you grow older, hearing loss becomes more likely. In the ages of 45-64, there is 14% of people have a degree of hearing loss, however, this rises to 30% for those who are over 65 years. This is one of the main reasons why your doctor may ask you to have a hearing test more regularly as an adult. If you’re someone who has had hearing loss since a child, then you may be required to have them more often throughout your life. 

It’s recommended by experts that you have your hearing tested once every ten years, and then after 50, it should be every three years. 

Why would you ever need a hearing test? 

It could be that you suspect that you have hearing loss. For example, you may have trouble hearing people talk to you when you’re in a crowded room, or someone has pointed out to you that you are turning the volume up on the radio or television way too high. 

However, there are some people who don’t know that they have a problem. It can sometimes be very difficult to realize you have hearing loss, this is because it’s gradual. This makes having your ears checked when your doctor says you should essential, even if you don’t think you have any loss. There is also the possibility that any hearing loss you have has been caused by something else such as medication, an accident, loud music or fireworks. 

Some of the common reasons adults experience hearing loss include: 

  • Being exposed to loud noises often at work
  • Mowing the lawn or using power tools on a regular basis 
  • Shooting weapons or guns
  • Loud music, both live and recorded on a regular basis
  • Too much earwax built up in the ear
  • Being hit on the head
  • Having an ear infection
  • Taking certain medication
  • A history of hearing loss within the family

What to expect during a hearing test 

A hearing test is quick and painless, it should only take about 30 minutes as long as the result are clear and accurate. Most of the time a hearing test for an adult consists of you wearing headphones and listening to short tones at a range of pitches and volumes. They get played into one ear at a time, you then must press a button to respond to what you have heard. Depending on what you can hear being played will determine if you have hearing loss, to what degree and what pitches you may be struggling with. It may be that you have hearing loss in just one ear or both to varying levels. The test is most completed in a quiet room without any background noise.

What the result means

You can’t pass or fail a hearing test. The results, however, can highlight whether you have hearing loss in both or one ear and how much of your hearing has gone. 

The intensity of sound is measured in decibels. Shouting is usually around 80 decibels, normal speech 60 decibels and whispering around 30 decibels. If you have a loss up to 25 decibels you have normal hearing. Hearing loss in decibels is broken down as follows: 

  • Mild loss: 26 to 40 decibels
  • Moderate loss: 41 to 55 decibels
  • Moderate-to-severe loss: 56 to 70 decibels
  • Severe loss: 71 to 90 decibels
  • Profound loss: 91 to 100 decibels

If it is found that you have mild, moderate or greater hearing loss you may be surprised, especially if it has crept up on you gradually. Your doctor may refer you to see an audiologist, who may help you with hearing aids

Treatments

You may not be able to restore hearing loss, however, there are ways you can protect the hearing that you still have and make up for the loss. 

If you find out that you need to wear hearing aids to help, there many different styles and ranges that your audiologist will be able to explain in further detail. You may also find it useful to use tools that can make things louder for you such as products that help make phones louder or hearing loops that others can wear for you to be able to concentrate on one voice. Even learning to lip read could help when you are in a louder and busier environment. 

If you want to learn more don’t hesitate to contact Listen Hear Diagnostics call at 347-450-9872