According to the Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals, you should have your hearing tested regularly. They recommend:
- 18 to 45 years old: every five years
- 45 to 60 years old: every three years
- 60 years and older: every two years
When to go for a hearing checkup
People usually assume that hearing loss only affects the elderly but it can affect anyone at any age.
Do you find it hard to follow conversations in noisy environments or constantly ask people to repeat themselves? Does your family complain that the TV or radio is too loud?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it might be time to book a hearing test.
What happens during a hearing test?
Always discuss any concerns you may have with your audiologist.
1. Initial examination
Your ears are examined with an otoscope to check for any visual problems in your ear canal or ear drum. If you need a hearing test, it is performed in a quiet, soundproof room with no background noise.
2. Pure tone test
This checks your ability to hear different pure tones, which indicates the degree of hearing loss. You’ll wear headphones and hold a button in your hand – and when you hear a tone, you press the button. Each ear is tested individually and afterwards the results are illustrated as an audiogram, which shows the softest sounds you can hear at different frequencies.
3. Bone conduction test
Sometimes you’ll have a bone conduction test to measure your ability to hear pure tones using a small bone conductor that is placed behind your ear. It checks for any problems in the middle ear cavity.
4. Speech test
This test checks to see whether there are problems with your auditory nerve, which sends signals from your ear to brain, helping translate the sounds you hear into words you can understand as speech.
This test checks the condition of your middle ear and mobility of the eardrum.
6. Set aside some time
A hearing test can take between 60 and 90 minutes.