Adult Hearing Tests

At SoundWave Audiology we offer a comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessment for adult patients. We have set out below what happens during your visit so that you know what to expect. We would encourage you to ask questions if you have any either before your visit, when making the appointment or at any point during your visit with us as it is important to us that you feel comfortable, informed and that you receive the best service and outcome possible.

You are more than welcome to bring a support person to the appointment if you wish. If you have specific needs (affecting for example mobility) please let us know at the time of making your appointment. If you already know you have hearing loss and want to discuss hearing aids please let us know at the time of making your appointment so that we can ensure we allocate enough time to discuss all the options with you. If there is anything else you are concerned about before making the appointment, or if you have had a less than ideal experience somewhere else let us know about your concerns at the time of making an appointment.

Our Adult Diagnostic Hearing Assessments meet or exceed requirements for:

    • GP/ENT/Ear Nurse- and other referrals
    • ACC Audiometric Assessments
    • Veterans’ Affairs Assessments
    • CAA hearing tests
    • Pre-Employment Audiograms
    • Immigration Hearing Tests

Before we conduct your hearing assessment your audiologist will sit down with you and discuss the reason that brought you to our clinic in the first place. It is important for us to understand the individual needs of our patients and help us to customise our approach to your particular needs. We will also ask you questions about other health aspects which may relate to your hearing. This part of your hearing assessment usually takes around 10 minutes.

The audiologist will have a look in your ear using an otoscope to assess the health of the outer ear canal and the ear drum. If required we can use a video otoscope which allows us to take a picture or video of what we have seen. This is useful for onward referrals to other hearing health professionals or to use as reference in the future. This part of your hearing assessment may only take a couple of minutes.

Next your audiologist will assess your hearing sensitivity to different pitches of sound. Audiometry is a non-invasive and painless procedure to measure hearing sensitivity of an individual. The hearing test is performed using sounds of single frequency, tested at various intensity levels and determining the lowest loudness level that the person is able to hear in each frequency. The tone of a single frequency, called pure tone, is presented into the ear canal through an earphone. The testing is done across different frequencies ranging from 125 Hz to 8000 Hz. The sounds presented at the external ear, travels through the ear canal, middle ear, inner ear and then through the auditory nerve to be processed in the brain.

This test in conducted in a spacious, state-of-the-art audiometric booth. Standard headphones, or the insert earphones are used during the assessment. You will be required to give a response when hearing a tone, by pressing a button. The lowest loudness level heard by you for each frequency is recorded and is called a Threshold. Thresholds are determined for tones with frequencies starting at about 125 Hz and increasing in frequency by octaves or half-octaves to about 8000 Hz. Thresholds are defined as the point at which a sound elicits a response 50% of the time that it is present.

Hearing tests of the right and left ear are done independently. Air conduction testing using earphones and bone conduction testing are carried out to determine the type of hearing loss. Bone conduction testing is done with the help of the oscillator fixed to a headband, positioned behind the ear. This part of your hearing assessment can take 10-15 minutes.

Once the Pure Tone Audiometry has been completed your audiologist will assess your ability to discriminate words in quiet at different speech presentation levels. You will be asked to repeat these words out loud and to guess if you are not certain. You will also be asked to repeat sentences in the presence of competing background noise. Both of the Speech Audiometry test results can then be compared to normative data. These assessments are used as a cross check for the Pure Tone Audiometry results and help us to understand how your hearing sensitivity may impact your ability to discriminate speech in quiet and in background noise. This part of your hearing assessment will take another 5-10 minutes.

Your audiologist will also assess the function of the ear drum and -middle ear structures. This assessment is objective and does not require you to respond. Your audiologist will place a small probe with a soft tip into each ear. First, we will conduct Wide Band Tympanometry: You will hear a series of sounds and feel a slight pressure change. This allows us to assess whether the ear drum is intact and whether the middle ear structures are functioning properly. It also allows us to assess how well the middle ear structures absorb sound.

Next we will check for Stapedial/Acoustic Reflexes. You will hear a series of louder sounds and the equipment will measure the presence or absence of a reflex in response to the sounds presented to each ear. This part of your hearing assessment will take about 5 minutes.

Your Audiologist will place a small probe with a soft tip into each ear separately. You will hear a series of sounds and the equipment will automatically record sounds generated from within the Cochlea (Inner Ear) across 500 Hz to 10 000 Hz. In conjunction with audiometric testing, OAE testing can be completed to determine early changes in the behavioural responses obtained during subjective testing and as a cross check for the subjective part of your hearing assessment. Studies have found that exposure to noise can cause a decline in OAE responses even before these changes cause a measurable loss on the Pure Tone Audiogram. This part of your hearing assessment will take approximately 5 minutes.

Your audiologist will discuss the results from the different assessments carried out. They will discuss the results with you in relation to your reason for coming to see us. If indicated, they will also discuss with you onward referrals to other hearing health care professionals. Depending on the results of your assessment they may also discuss communication strategies that could be useful, talk to you about assistive technology which you may benefit from or make recommendations about amplification/hearing aids. If you want to talk about hearing aids a separate consultation may need to be arranged.

Your audiologist will, at your request, send a report to you and/or other hearing health care professionals summarizing the relevant history, results from your assessment and discussions during your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does any part of the assessment hurt?

No. All the assessments we will carry out re non-invasive and should not cause discomfort. If at any point during the consultation anything is uncomfortable you are encouraged to let us know straight away.

I am afraid of enclosed spaces. How long do I need to be in the audiometric test booth?

You will only be in the test booth for 15-20 minutes during the Pure Tone audiometry and Speech Audiometry. Our test booth is spacious with a window and glass door and the door isn’t locked during any part of the assessment. You can open the door yourself and can ask the audiologist at any point to stop the assessment if you need to. If you let your audiologist know before or during the appointment, they can structure the assessment to allow you to spend shorter periods of time in the test booth.

Photo credit: Acoustix Hearing

If my hearing assessment does show hearing loss will I be pressured into hearing aids?

Our aim is to inform you about your hearing health. If your assessment indicates a hearing loss, we will provide you with professional advice on how to best look after your hearing. If hearing aids are recommended, we will advise you accordingly. We will not pressure you to make a commitment to purchase hearing aids if this is not what you want to do. We will discuss the benefits of amplification (if indicated) and talk to you about monitoring your hearing status going forward. We will discuss communication strategies which may be helpful as well as other assistive devices (such as headphones for the television) if indicated. Our aim is to make sure that you can make an informed decision about your hearing health and to continue supporting your hearing health needs.

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