Do you have trouble hearing in the presence of background noise? Do you ask your friends and family members to repeat what they said?
If you answered yes to these questions, it is time to test your hearing.
Before booking a hearing test, consult your primary health care physician for a simple ear check-up to remove any wax or other foreign bodies from your ear canal. Any obstruction in the ear canal can affect the sound transmission, thereby leading to hearing loss.
This article covers how to get a hearing test, the symptoms of hearing loss, the cost of hearing exams, and what to expect at a hearing test.
How to Get a Hearing Test
To get a hearing test, consult a licensed audiologist with a Doctoral Degree in Audiology (AuD). Ask your primary health care physician, friends, or family members to recommend an audiologist. You can also search for audiologists in your area on the American Academy of Audiology website.
Who Completes Hearing Tests?
An audiologist is the health care provider who diagnoses and treats hearing loss. The audiologist will determine the existence of hearing loss through a variety of tests. The process is painless and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.
Based on the type and severity of hearing loss, the professional will recommend various treatment options, such as the use of amplification devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Did you know you could also test your hearing at home? Check out our honest review of the best online hearing tests you can trust.
When to Get a Hearing Test
The following symptoms are typically associated with hearing loss.
- You often ask other people to repeat what they have said.
- You watch TV at a loud volume.
- You find it difficult to understand speech in the presence of background noise, such as at parties, metro stations, and in traffic.
- People often tell you that you are not hearing properly.
- You have to strain yourself to understand phone conversations.
How Often Should You Have a Hearing Test?
American Speech-Language Association (ASHA) recommends getting a hearing test at least once every 10 years until 50 years of age. ASHA also suggests that individuals aged 50 and above should undergo a hearing screening every 3 years.
How Much Do Hearing Tests Cost?
A standard hearing test costs around $60, provided that your medical insurance covers hearing exams. However, the price can vary by profession, clinic, and medical insurance policy.
Hearing tests without insurance can cost as much as $250. Therefore, before taking a test, study your insurance company’s policies, including the copay and deductible for a hearing check-up.
If you suspect hearing loss, you may need to try on different hearing aids to see which works best for you. The cost of hearing aids ranges from $1000 to $6000. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of hearing aids. Confirm whether or not your insurance covers hearing aids and hearing aid tests.
A standard hearing test costs around $60, provided that your medical insurance covers it. Hearing tests without insurance can cost as much as $250.
What Happens During a Hearing Test?
A hearing test consists of a variety of tests to determine the type, severity, and pattern of your hearing loss.
A comprehensive audiology exam begins with a medical history overview, followed by an otoscopy, tests of the middle ear, and an assessment of your hearing threshold.
The audiologist will collect details about your health history such as the medications currently prescribed, and the onset and progress of your hearing loss. Be sure to explain in detail the problems you have noticed with your hearing, the duration of your hearing loss, and any related difficulties such as ringing in the ears or ear pain.
Be sure to communicate even the slightest of problems you have experienced with your hearing.
An otoscopy is the visual examination of the structures of your ear, such as the ear canal and the eardrum. A tool called an otoscope is used to check for ear canal blockages, as the presence of foreign bodies or excessive ear wax can lead to hearing loss. The audiologist will refer you to an ENT in the case of an ear canal blockage.
An otoscope is used to check for ear canal blockages, as the presence of foreign bodies or excessive ear wax can lead to hearing loss.
Tests for Middle Ear Function
Tympanometry is used to measure the functioning of the middle ear, such as the movement of the eardrum and middle ear.
Tympanometry is done using a flexible rubber tip that will change the air pressure in the ear canal. The tip will be placed into your ear canal and the movement of your eardrum in response to pressure changes will be recorded.
This test will help the audiologist determine the presence of any wax in your ear canal, a eustachian tube dysfunction, or an ear infection.
Assessment of Hearing and Speech Threshold
Pure tone audiometry and speech audiometry are the two tests used to measure hearing threshold and speech threshold, respectively.
Pure tone audiometry, also known as an audiogram test, measures your hearing threshold. The hearing threshold is the minimum sound level required to determine the presence of sound.
During this test, you will be asked to raise your hand or press a button whenever you hear a sound. The audiologist will record your responses and determine the type, degree, and configuration of your hearing loss. Pure tone audiometry is the most important test in a hearing examination.
Speech audiometry involves two tests. The first test will measure the minimum speech loudness level at which you can detect the presence of speech. The second test will measure the minimum speech loudness level at which you can understand speech.
If your results reveal a loss of hearing, the audiologist will explain the extent of your hearing loss and the different treatment options available, namely the use of hearing aids and other amplification devices.
How Long Does a Hearing Test Take?
The initial hearing assessment can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. However, you should plan on spending up to an hour and a half total to account for waiting and preparation. Follow-up visits usually take around 30 minutes.
Online Hearing Tests
Online hearing tests involve an audio presentation of a list of words and numbers. You have to click on the corresponding word or number. There may be an additional test to measure your ability to detect sound in the presence of background noise.
Are Online Hearing Tests Accurate?
Online hearing test results are not accurate. It is always advised to seek help from a licensed audiologist if you suspect hearing loss.
To get a hearing test, consult a licensed audiologist. Before arranging an appointment, ask your medical insurance provider about the extent of coverage for hearing exams and hearing aid tests. It is better to choose an audiologist who works with different brands of hearing aids so that you can find the best hearing aid for you.