Hearing Test & Consultation
A hearing test often comprises of a number of different examinations which can help to determine whether or not a person is suffering from hearing loss, and to what extent. In many cases, the examinations may also determine the causes of the hearing loss.
Step 1: Case History
We begin by asking you some questions relating to your hearing problems, e.g. if you have been subjected to loud noise, or if other people in your family suffer from hearing impairment, or if you have had a history of ear conditions or operations. Your answers may help to determine the extent of your problem and uncover specific areas which may require further attention.
Step 2: Ear Examination
Following the initial conversation, we will examine your ears with a special instrument called an otoscope. This is a simple light probe with a magnifying lens and it allows us to examine the outer ear area for any visible conditions, such as excessive wax, ear canal obstruction, or perforated ear-drums. This can be seen on a live video screen.
Step 3: Hearing Test
The next step of the examination is the actual hearing test which is conducted in a quiet testing room. You will be given simple instructions and each ear will be tested individually. When you hear a tone, you press a button or raise your hand. The test results – illustrated as a graph or an audiogram – show your hearing threshold, i.e. the softest sounds you are able to hear at different frequencies (Hz).
We will also carry out a bone conduction test to measure your ability to hear pure tones, by placing a small bone conductor behind your ear. Instead of emitting audible sounds, the bone conductor sends tiny vibrations to the inner ear. The results of these vibrations give another indication of your hearing threshold and are also shown on the audiogram.
A comparison of these two test results provides a better indication of which particular parts of the ear are responsible for the hearing loss.
Step 4: Your Results Explained
An audiogram shows your hearing ability by showing your hearing threshold at different frequencies. Hearing threshold is an indication of how soft a sound may get before it is inaudible. A hearing threshold of between 0 and 20 dB is considered normal.
The vertical axis of the audiogram represents sound volume or intensity which is measured in decibels (dB). The more one moves down the axis, the louder the sound becomes. This corresponds to turning up the volume on a radio, for example. Zero decibels at the top of the axis represent the softest sound a person is normally able to hear.
The horizontal axis of the audiogram represents sound frequency or pitch measured in Hertz (Hz). Sound frequency increases gradually the further one moves to the right along the axis. This movement can be compared to playing on the left side of a piano and gradually moving to the right side where the tone becomes more and more high-pitched. Frequencies between 500 Hz and 4000 Hz are most commonly used during ordinary conversation.