How savvy are you about getting your hearing tested? Hearing loss is a common condition but often goes undiagnosed. One of the first steps to getting treated for hearing loss is to make an appointment for a hearing test. Check out this Q&A about hearing tests and expand what you know.

When should I get my hearing tested?

For some people the answer to this question is “when I can’t hear well” but, in reality, that is waiting too long. Hearing loss typically comes on gradually with small changes occurring over time. Regular hearing tests should be scheduled to create a base line and to catch symptoms early. Also, if you are experiencing ear pain, ringing or buzzing in the ear, ear fullness or even dizziness a hearing test may be in order.

Is a hearing test painful?

No, a hearing test is not painful and you can easily schedule one with a hearing care professional. The hearing test is just the first step. Your hearing care professional will evaluate the results and discuss follow up plans or further tests.

Do I need my medications when I arrive at my appointment?

Your hearing care professional is examining your ears, but having a complete health picture is important for diagnosis. Bring a list of the medications you take. Your hearing care professional will also ask about your lifestyle, including difficult listening environments.

What happens during a hearing test?

Your hearing care professional will first sit down and ask about your health history, lifestyle and the concerns you have. They will then conduct a “look and listen” examination. First, they will use their auriscope to visually look into your ears. This visual examination helps determine if there are obstructions, such as ear wax, in the ear and allows an assessment of the overall health of your outer ear and eardrum. Next, comes the listen part of the examination. Your hearing care professional will use an Audiogram in a sound booth to test sounds at different volume levels in order to measure the range of sounds you can hear well. Your hearing care professional may also check for fluid behind the ear using a pressure test.

Remember, scheduling a hearing test is the first step to improving your hearing and ultimately your quality of life.