In London, it’s quite common these days to walk into a high-street pharmacy to request a hearing test. However, we sought out a London-based audiologist and asked for an expert opinion on what’s best and he suggested that while high-street pharmacies offer convenient hearing tests, one should consider clinical audiology services for a more thorough examination.
So, what goes on behind the doors of a private audiology practice? In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of how these specialists test your hearing, offering insights into the comprehensive process that goes beyond a standard hearing check.
A Thorough History of Your Hearing:
Before your audiologist even begins the physical examination, they will sit down with you to gather a detailed history of your hearing. This involves discussing your personal experiences with hearing loss, any medications you are taking, exposure to loud noises, and any family history of hearing issues. This comprehensive overview allows your audiologist to identify potential causes and tailor the testing process accordingly.
An essential step in the hearing assessment process is a meticulous examination of your ears. This involves checking for any blockages caused by earwax or potential infections that could contribute to hearing loss. This initial examination is crucial in ruling out external factors that may impact the accuracy of the subsequent tests.
If you’ve undergone microsuction earwax removal before your hearing appointment, your audiologist may advise that you wait for 48 hours before you get a hearing test, as the microsuction procedure can temporarily affect your hearing thresholds because of how loud it is.
Possible Ear Wax Removal:
If an earwax blockage is identified during the examination, your audiologist may recommend a swift removal. This step is crucial to ensure an unobstructed pathway for sound during the hearing test. Removing earwax allows for more accurate results and a clearer understanding of your hearing capabilities.
The First Hearing Test:
The first hearing test, known as pure-tone audiometry, involves you listening to tones and beeps while you press a button anytime you hear a sound. Your audiologist’s goal is to identify the quietest sounds you can perceive across various speech-related frequencies. The results are then graphically represented on an audiogram, providing a visual representation of your hearing health.
A Tympanometry Test:
If there’s an airborne gap detected, your audiologist may conduct a Tympanometry test to assess the overall health of your middle ear. During this test, you will feel a small pressure in your ears. Similar to what you feel when you go in a tunnel on the tube. It assesses the health of your middle ear, to find out if any structural or fluid obstacles could block the passage of sound.
Speech testing, also known as speech audiometry or speech-in-noise testing, evaluates your ability to hear speech sounds against background noise. This particular assessment addresses one of the most common complaints among individuals with hearing loss – difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments. By simulating real-life scenarios, this test provides valuable information about your hearing capabilities in challenging auditory situations.
Once all the tests are completed, your audiologist will compile the results into a comprehensible format and will then discuss the findings with you in a jargon-free manner, ensuring you fully understand the implications.
If the results indicate that you need help with your hearing, such as hearing aids, your audiologist will guide you through available options, considering your lifestyle, preferences, and the specific nature of your hearing loss.
Routine hearing tests are super important if you aim to preserve your hearing. Remember, navigating the complexities of hearing loss doesn’t have to be a solo journey, with the help of an audiologist the path towards optimal hearing is just an appointment. So, if you find yourself contemplating a hearing test, embrace the expertise of a London-based audiologist and rediscover the joy of hearing every note, clear and strong.