Hearing Tests and What to Expect
When looking for hearing tests you will find lots of different companies offering much of the same. First thing you need to look into is whether you want to go through your local GP or a private company. If you are looking to use a free service such as the NHS, then the GP is where you will need to start. If however, you decide to go privately you can go any Hearing Aid Dispenser (HAD). You may want to do a little research on the company beforehand to make sure they have a good reputation.
So what should happens next?
The first thing that should happen when you walk in, should be that the HAD introduces them self to you. This may sound a little silly but it is an important step for both you and the HAD to start building a good relationship. It is crucial for you both to have a good relationship with each other so you can build trust together.
Once you are both introduced and comfortable your HAD should proceed to talking through some intermittent questions. This is what we call taking a history. It is important for the HAD to do this for both your safety and so the they can affirm the best choice of hearing aid for you if they are needed.
What sort questions will they ask?
When going through your case history, the questions about your hearing should be fairly similar wherever you go. This will start with basics such as; how long do you think you have had a hearing loss for?; have you had you hearing tested before?; etc. They will then move into your day to day activity and where you find it difficult to hear. At this point it is vital that you are as honest with your self and your HAD. If you are not it will make it harder for the HAD to do their job correctly. Ultimately it may result in you getting the wrong hearing aids for you need. Finally they will ask you some medical questions. These will range from; have you had tinnitus?; have you ever experienced rotational vertigo; and have you had and surgery on your ears. The reason for this is to make sure the HAD is practising safely.
The Hearing Test
Just before starting the hearing test the HAD should look inside your ears. They should do this to make sure the ear canal is free from wax and see ear drum is healthy. Next they should explain what the test is that they are doing. The test they should conduct is called a Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA) test. They will then explain what you should do while the HAD conducts the hearing test. As part of the hearing test, the HAD should proceed with a Bone Conduction (BC) test.
Once the main PTA and BC tests are complete the HAD may also move onto speech mapping or speech in noise testing. Please note not all clinics are set up for this and it does not mean they are not practising correctly. It is a gold standard in audiology an will give the HAD a better understanding of your hearing. With this better understanding they will be able to better program the hearing aids for you.