Hearing Assessments

What happens at a hearing Assessment? Sara Mills, age 42, talks through her experience of a hearing test at her local Independent Hearing Professional (IHP).

“One of the first things I didn’t realise is that if you feel you need your hearing tested, you can contact your local Independent Hearing Professional direct and you don’t need a GP or medical referral!

Making an appointment was easy. I simply found my nearest IHP on their website and gave them a call. The receptionist was extremely patient and friendly and because they were just up the road in the High Street, and with free parking, I was able to fit a hearing test appointment into my shopping schedule, which couldn’t be more convenient.

As this was my first consultation, I brought my husband with me, and it took around an hour. Straight away my IHP made me feel comfortable and at ease and was very positive about me bringing a friend or relative along. Throughout the hearing test everything was explained simply, he didn’t rush and he answered all the questions and concerns we both had.

Before my ears were examined, my IHP asked a few questions including my medical history and my current hearing experiences. He then took a look inside my ears before proceeding to the hearing test.

The hearing test is done in three parts. The first part involved me sitting in a sound proof booth, with some headphones on. Each ear was then tested individually and I was played a series of tones, to see if I could identify a range of frequencies and volumes. The aim of this test is to find out the quietest tones I can hear at each frequency. This was then recorded by my IHP on a special chart called an ‘Audiogram’.

The second part involved testing to see how well I can hear sound through vibration. For this, I was asked to wear a special headband, which had a sound producing box that sits behind the ear. Tones were conducted at varying intensity levels and frequencies until again, the quietest tone was established.

Both of these two hearing tests enabled my IHP to establish if there are any hearing problems resulting from either a problem in the inner ear, an issue regarding conduction, or a combination of both.

Finally I had a test called a ‘Tympanogram’, which measures the function in the middle ear and the ear drum.

The results of the hearing tests were talked through and my type of hearing loss was thoroughly explained, along with an explanation on what might have caused the loss and most importantly, what could be done to help improve my hearing.

I needed to wear a hearing aid and so my IHP talked through the benefits of the latest hearing aids which would be most suitable for me.

Like me, at this point, you may be asked to return for a fitting appointment, or they may, if time allows, take a mould of your ear canal. This is completely painless and takes around 15 minutes. This mould enables your chosen hearing aid to be ordered and tailored to fit properly.

Another appointment will be made, around two weeks later, for you to come and have your hearing aids fitted. This appointment can take approximately an hour because you need time to adjust and get used to wearing it. A series of follow-up appointments are also made, to check on my progress.

Also, I should mention, that if any of the hearing tests resulted in the need for a medical referral, my IHP would complete a report that would be sent either to my GP and/or ENT consultant for further investigation.”

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