That’s some statement, but as a qualified audiologist with two decades of experience, I can honestly say hearing tests change lives. They signify the start of your journey to better hearing.
Age-related hearing loss, ARHL, is the gradual loss of hearing in both ears. It’s a common health condition, impacting one in 3 adults over 65. It is a normal ageing process, starting in our 50s. It can be subtle, so it’s often hard to notice.
How Do I Know If I Need a Hearing Test?
Changes are mild and harder to pick up. There are some classic symptoms that you may begin to notice:
- Having difficulty hearing in noisy situations, this could be in a shop, a bar or an echoey train station
- Having to turn the volume up on the TV even one or two levels higher
- Asking people to repeat themselves and perhaps assuming they are speaking softly
- Missing parts of the conversation
- Feeling exhausted in social situations because of such focus on listening.
When to Have a Hearing Test?
A hearing test is recommended every year over the age of 50. I see patients at every age and every stage and often continue as their audiologist down through the years. Often people can leave their first hearing test too much later. Especially if they don’t feel there is any issue with their hearing.
Some people may have their hearing tested when one or more symptoms impact their life. It’s never too late to get support.
I understand that booking and having a hearing test comes after much consideration—often a period of denial and sometimes reluctance. We can feel a range of emotions, and it can take some time to accept that our hearing health is not as it was 10 or 20 years ago. This is perfectly normal.
Getting support is always the best course of action, and in many cases managing hearing loss can slow down its progression. A consultation should be about you. You are sharing your experience and discussing your feelings. This is vital to me and my patients to read how we approach a Hearing Loss Consultation.
How we hear is subjective, and because hearing loss can be gradual and subtle, it’s very typical not to realise that your hearing has become compromised. Sometimes others around you may notice before you do. It can feel like a shock, or it may be the reassurance you need to get a test.
Why Do People Put Hearing Tests Off?
Getting older in Western society is not celebrated in the way that it is in other cultures. Thankfully, attitudes towards ageing are evolving. People don’t accept the limitations of hearing loss and have no issue wearing hearing aids. They remain determined to live their lives to the fullest.
But for some, embracing life in this way isn’t as easy. Research shows it can take ten years for some people to get help and their hearing checked. It can take much longer to feel comfortable and confident to admit there may be a hearing loss. And because it’s not something we can physically see, it can be hidden.
I am on a mission to help people feel empowered about their hearing, so if they need audiology care, they seek it out without issue, without letting time go by and essentially miss out.
Hearing should be given as much attention as our vision and any other body part that ages. Being able to hear better with clarity can mean continuing to live life to the full.
Hearing is one of the senses that we can take for granted, and it is only until we can’t depend on it as we once did, do we realise its value. This realisation can spur you into action and to do something about it. When you have a test, we measure your hearing level, and with the wonders of ground-breaking technology and hearing aids, we can select a hearing aid to help you where needed.
What Does a Hearing Test Involve?
There are several types of hearing tests to evaluate our patients’ hearing. These include pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, tympanometry, otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), and auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing.
In pure-tone audiometry, we use headphones to deliver a series of tones at varying volumes and frequencies. Patients indicate when they can hear each tone, and we use the results to create an audiogram that illustrates their hearing abilities.
Speech audiometry involves testing a patient’s ability to hear and understand speech in different settings, such as in a quiet room or with background noise. This test can help us determine if a patient has difficulty hearing speech frequencies.
Tympanometry evaluates the eardrum’s movement in response to changes in air pressure. It helps us determine if there are problems with the middle ear, such as fluid build-up or a perforated eardrum.
OAE testing measures the sounds produced by the inner ear in response to sound stimulation. This testing can help us determine if there is damage to the inner ear.
Finally, ABR testing measures the electrical activity of the auditory nerve and brainstem in response to sound stimulation. This testing helps us determine if there is damage to the nerve pathways that transmit sound from the ear to the brain.
What are the different types of hearing tests, and how do they work?
When a patient comes in for a Hearing Loss Consultation, we review their medical history and ask about any current symptoms they may be experiencing. I have treated thousands of patients from all walks of life, and no one patient has the same hearing loss or same experience, so when we discuss their life, work, home, social or anything and everything else, we are talking about a unique situation, with a treatment plan suited to them.
We perform different types of hearing tests to determine if hearing loss is present and, if so, the type and severity of the hearing loss.
We examine the patient’s ears using an otoscope to check for any physical problems that could be causing their hearing loss. Additionally, we will discuss the patient’s lifestyle and needs to help determine the best treatment options moving forward.
A good hearing test score falls within the normal range for the patient’s age group. This means hearing sounds between 250 and 8,000 Hz at 25 decibels or lower for adults. If a score is outside this range, we consider a treatment plan using hearing aids.
Hearing loss sadly cannot be reversed, but with the advent of incredible technology, hearing aids from some of the world’s leading audio health brands can provide transformational results. Being up to date on the latest advancements in hearing aid technology is hugely important to Hear Me London.
Don’t Let Hearing Loss Hold You Back
Life is precious. You deserve to feel confident to work, socialise, travel, and do everything else on your to-do list without compromise. Helping you do all those things with better hearing is why I open my clinic doors every morning. No referral is needed to see me; book an appointment with Hear Me London.