Hearing tests provide a measurement of the sensitivity of a person’s hearing across the full range of speech.
However, if you’ve never had a hearing test and don’t know what to expect you might be curious to know: How long does a hearing test take?
In this article, I will explore some key information about hearing tests, including how long a hearing test takes.
So, let’s get into it.
If you have been experiencing difficulties hearing, you will first need to book an appointment to see your doctor.
Following your doctor’s appointment, your doctor may refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) who can do the hearing test.
However, it is worth noting that it could take a few weeks to see a specialist. Bearing this in mind, it might be quicker to get tested somewhere else, such as a pharmacy.
How Long Does A Hearing Test Take?
Generally speaking, a hearing test will take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
If you suspect that you need a hearing test, make sure that you ring your doctor at your soonest opportunity. While you might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of a hearing test, it’s a painless process and it is important that you get to the bottom of the issue.
There are three purposes of having a hearing test.
- To determine whether there is a hearing loss problem
- To establish the exact cause of your hearing loss
- To provide a solution for your hearing loss
Don’t put off getting a hearing test! As soon as you know what the problem is, you can look at the solutions available to you. However, you first need to tackle the problem head on and find out what’s causing your hearing loss.
What Happens In A Hearing Test?
When you have a hearing test, the audiologist will firstly ask you a series of questions to find out exactly how your hearing is affected and what issues you are experiencing.
Here, you will be able to detail the challenges you may be having to the audiologist. For instance, you might find that you have a constant ringing in your ears, also known as tinnitus or that you can’t hear as well as you used to be able to.
Generally speaking, the audiologist will want to establish a brief history of your hearing, when you began to notice hearing problems, and whether your hearing problems appeared gradually or suddenly.
There are many causes of hearing loss which include:
- Loud music
- Too much earwax
- Mowing the lawn or using power tools
- Being around loud noises frequently at work
- Head injury
- Having an infection
The audiologist is also likely to discuss any factors that may be affecting your hearing. These can include factors such as a head injury, loud noises you contend with at your job, or hearing difficulties that are worsening with age.
It’s important to talk openly about the different situations where you find it difficult to hear clearly, such as in loud situations or in a group dynamic where lots of people are talking. Once they have obtained all of this information, they will examine your ears.
As there’s a lot of information to take in, it might be useful to take someone else with you to this appointment. This will not only make you feel more relaxed to have someone with you, but it will also mean that you don’t have to remember all of the information on your own.
Your audiologist will be familiar with a variety of different symptoms, so it’s important for you to be as specific as you can when they ask you these questions.
Following this short consultation, you will then have an ear examination. For an ear exam, the audiologist will use a tool known as an otoscope to look into the ear canal and see the eardrum.
They will gently pull the ear back and slightly up to straighten the ear canal, and will look for any signs of excessive ear wax or inflammation from an infection.
The audiologist will then want to test your hearing by performing an audiogram. For this process, you will be wearing headphones as a series of sounds are played.
You will be asked to respond by pressing a button every time that you have heard the sound normally, no matter how quiet or faint it sounds in your ears.
Whether you can hear each sound will indicate whether or not you can hear high-pitched or low-pitched sounds, quiet or loud sounds, and whether your left, right, or both of your ears have hearing loss.
The audiologist will examine your results and clearly explain if you do have any hearing difficulties and what the cause is. While this isn’t a pass or fail test, the results of a hearing test can show whether you have hearing loss in one or both ears and how much hearing is gone.
From there, they will discuss your options on how to solve or improve your hearing issues. Even though you can’t restore hearing loss, there are ways to make up for it and protect the hearing that you still have.
For instance, your doctor may suggest that you wear earplugs to protect your ears when you are carrying out loud activities such as mowing the lawn, or attending a music concert. Knowing how to protect your ears can help to prevent even more hearing loss from occurring in the future.
A hearing test takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete and is a painless experience. If you suspect that you need a hearing test, it’s important that you seek professional advice from your doctor so you can be referred to an audiologist.
The quicker the cause of your hearing loss is established, the quicker you can look at solutions.
Once you have established what level of hearing loss you have, you will be able to take steps on how to protect your ears from further damage.