A hearing test carried out by a professional audilogists can tell you whether you have hearing loss and, if so what type and level.
A hearing test lasts about 20 minutes and isn’t uncomfortable. Before it starts, you will be asked about your hearing and your ears checked. They will then test one ear at a time. For the standard test, called audiometry, you will listen to sounds of different tones and volumes though headphones and will be asked to press a button each time you hear a sound. The noises will gradually become quiet to find the softest sounds that you can hear. The results of the test are recorded on a chart called an audiogram.
The audiologist might then ask you to wear a headband with a vibrating pad. This pad sends sound through the bones in your head directly to the cochlea (the hearing organ in your inner ear), on both sides of your head. Again, you’ll be asked to press a button each time you hear a sound. This test checks whether the cochlea and hearing nerve is working or damaged.
At some point, the audiologist might play a rushing noise into one ear to cover up sounds while they test your other ear.
Some audiology services carry out slightly different tests, and you may need more examinations to find out more detailed information about your ears and hearing.
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, the audiologist will explain the type of hearing loss you have and whether it can be treated. They will also let you know whether hearing aids could help you.
Untreated hearing loss can start to have a huge impact on your day to day life. Social situations can become so tiring that you start to give up on them altogether. You may find you are tuning out of conversations or starting to withdraw completely, which means missing out on precious time with family and friends. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why some recent studies have shown a link between untreated hearing loss and the development of dementia.
Age-related is the most common type of hearing loss and there is currently no cure. However for most people, a hearing aid can help greatly.