There are lots of different ways to have your hearing tested. Initially, a screening test might be used. Screening tests are used to find out whether you need further testing. These tests are sometimes used for noisy workplaces or in schools. They often take the form of a ‘pass’ or ‘refer’ procedure. If you’ve had a screening test and you have been told that you didn’t pass, it is worthwhile to have a full assessment done so that you know what’s going on.
A full assessment is done in a quiet environment so that you can hear the very softest sounds. A hearing assessment is called a threshold test because we want to know the very softest sounds that you can hear at a range of different frequencies. During the test your ears are tested separately. These results get recorded on an audiogram.
You might also be asked to repeat some words or sentences. Another test looks at how your middle ear is functioning. The results are then analysed and explained to you.
We describe hearing loss in terms of degree and type. The degree of hearing loss is usually described as mild, moderate, severe and profound. The type of hearing loss is usually described as conductive, sensorineural or mixed.
If you’ve developed a hearing loss as an adult and the hearing loss is mild, you will probably find that you manage quite well in quiet places or with people who have loud clear voices. You will find it difficult to hear in more challenging situations like noisy places or when there is a group of people. If you have a profound hearing loss and rely on your hearing alone, you will find all situations challenging.
The type of hearing loss gives us an idea of where the problem is. Conductive hearing loss is usually related to the outer and middle ears. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually related to the cochlea (the inner ear) or the nerve pathways from the cochlea to the brain.
You might see other ways of describing hearing loss, like central or auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder. These are not common and a good starting point for finding out about your hearing is to have a hearing test. From the hearing test we will be able to show you your audiogram.
Not all auditory difficulties can be shown on an audiogram. Some people have normal hearing but find it difficult to process auditory information.
Please contact us if you are interested in having an adult hearing test.