Woman with arms crossed wearing Signia Styletto AX hearing aids

How a hearing test works

The first thing to do to find out if you need to do something about hearing loss is take a hearing test. This is a straightforward process that is just as simple as getting your eyes checked at an optician. Here, a qualified Hearing Care Professional (HCP) will perform your hearing test.

Man getting a professional hearing test

The test may consist of several parts

There are several possible parts to a hearing test which may be used depending on your specific symptoms - the two most common are the pure-tone test and speech testing.  

The  Pure Tone Test:

You will be given a pair of headphones and instructed to listen and respond to the softest tones you can hear at different pitches 

The Speech Test:

You will be asked to repeat words or sentences to assess how clearly you can hear speech. Difficulty distinguishing between consonant sounds like “s,” “h,” or “f” is a sign that you have hearing loss.

Your hearing test results will likely be shown to you in a graph called an audiogram. The audiogram shows your hearing thresholds - or the softest levels you can hear – across a range of pitches for each ear.  It is common to have better hearing for some pitches than for others.
More about audiograms
Audiogram with speech banana for sensorineural hearing loss, left ear
Audiogram for sensorineural hearing loss in a left ear

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FAQs about hearing tests

Anyone who experiences symptoms of hearing loss, such as difficulty hearing or understanding speech, should get a hearing test. Hearing tests are also recommended for people over the age of 50, or for those who have been exposed to loud noises.
Depending on an individual’s needs, a hearing test may take between 20 and 60 minutes.
No special preparation is necessary for a hearing test, but it is a good idea to inform the hearing care professional of any medications you are taking or any recent changes in your hearing. It may also help to bring a friend or relative who help your hearing care professional better understand your hearing loss.

No, a hearing test is not painful. The test is completely non-invasive and involves the use of headphones and sound.

After a hearing test, your hearing care professional will review your results with you and discuss any hearing loss that was found. The hearing care professional may recommend hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other treatments as necessary.

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