If you're concerned about your hearing, contact us for a FREE, no obligations hearing check at any one of our Melbourne hearing clinics.
Allow 15-minutes for your hearing check appointment. Please note, a comprehensive hearing assessment will take approximately 1-hour.
A FREE hearing check is a 15-minute appointment with one of our Audiologists which covers:
- Otoscopy, which includes viewing of the ear canal to identify any wax occlusions; and
- A test of 4 frequency (or pitch) levels to identify the presence or absence of a hearing loss.
Hearing is an important part of your health and quality of life, and checking and then monitoring any hearing and ear concerns should be a priority.
If untreated, hearing loss often results in broken and frustrating communication with family and friends, increased safety risk (for example, not hearing traffic when crossing the road), social withdrawal and isolation, and in severe cases, depression.
A hearing test will determine the type (conductive, sensorineural, or both) and magnitude of any hearing loss. It's important to have a hearing test if you:
- experience problems in one or both ears, such as infections, blocked feeling;
- find it difficult understanding words in conversation, particularly with background noise, such as at restaurants and family gatherings;
- been exposed to loud noise; or
- take certain antibiotics, such as gentamicin.
Your hearing test will be conducted in a quiet noise-tested room or sound booth by a hearing specialist (Audiologist).
A comprehensive hearing test and evaluation covers:
- Hearing history
- Communication difficulties
- Pure tone audiometry that includes:
- Air conduction testing
- Bone conduction testing
- Speech Audiometry
- Discussion of results, options for rehabilitation and a report to managing doctor
Otoscopy is when an Audiologist looks into your ear canal with an Otoscope (light). Inspection of the ear canal and eardrum can provide a lot of information about the physical circumstances of your ear and hearing. Abnormal findings of an ear canal can include:
- Wax occlusions / blockages
- Inflamed, swollen and discharge in ear canals during acute infections
- Foreign objects in the ear
- Perforations to the ear drum
Pure tone audiometry consists of two parts, air conduction and bone conduction testing.
Air conduction testing uses a machine called an audiometer to play a series of whistles or beeps known as pure tones through headphones. The tones vary in pitch (frequency, measured in hertz) and loudness (intensity, measured in decibels). Air conduction testing will test the pathway of sounds through the outer ear (ear canal), middle ear (eardrum and small bones) and into the inner ear (cochlea).
The Audiologist conducting the test will control the volume of a tone. He or she will reduce its loudness until you can no longer hear it. Then the tone will get louder until you can hear it again. You signal by pressing a button every time you hear a tone, even if the tone you hear is very faint. The Audiologist will often repeat the test several times, using a higher-pitched tone each time. Each ear is tested separately. The results of the air conduction testing are marked on a graph called an audiogram. The softest sounds at each pitch known as thresholds are marked with an 'x' for left and an 'o' for right.
The headphones will then be removed. A special vibrating device (bone conductor) will be placed on the bone behind your ear. Again, you will signal each time you hear a tone. Bone conduction testing bypasses the outer and middle ear and tests the functioning of the cochlea.
The results of air and bone conduction testing will allow the Audiologist to diagnose the nature and degree of hearing loss. The nature is whether the hearing loss is sensorineural, conductive or mixed loss and whether the degree is normal, mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss levels.
Speech Audiometry is the last hearing test wearing headphones and uses a range of speech perception and work recognition tests to measure how well you can hear and understand normal speech. In these tests, you are asked to repeat a series of simple words spoken at different volumes.
Tympanometry is a test of how well your ear drum is moving and how well the middle ear is functioning. A rubber tip is placed into the ear and some air is pumped into the ear canal. Tympanometry helps to conform the nature of the hearing loss.
A hearing test is not painful and you do not experience any discomfort.
Majority of people will have hearing within normal limits. This means you can:
- hear tones at equal loudness in both ears played at 20 dB or less; and
- repeat 90% to 95% of the words in a word recognition test.
If you have a hearing loss or hearing related problem, you can:
- hear the tone more loudly in one ear than in the other ear;
- only hear certain sounds at high decibel levels; or
- hear sounds, but you can't understand the words.
Your hearing test results can be impacted if you:
- are not able to follow directions or understand speech well enough to respond during the tests;
- have had a recent cold or ear infection;
- have significant amount of impacted ear wax blocking your ear canal, which cannot be removed by the Audiologist; or
- have been exposed to loud noises within 16 hours before the test.