To carry out a hearing test, we use an instrument called a video otoscope. This allows us to see inside the ear so we can look for any irregularities.
This also means that the customer can see inside their own drum, often for the first time ever. When we look inside someone’s ear, we are usually investigating any problems which might be affecting the person’s hearing.
This includes discharge or excess fluid in the ear, a bulging eardrum, a retracted eardrum or a perforated eardrum. If any of those symptoms are present, then we would look to carry out appropriate treatment to avoid further damage.
A tone audiometry test
The audiologist will also perform a tone audiometry (PTA) test to test the hearing of both ears. During PTA, a machine called an audiometer is used to produce sounds at various volumes and frequencies (pitches).
To take part in a PTA test, you will be asked to sit inside a soundproof booth which will stop any interference from external noises. You will then be asked to listen to a range of sounds through headphones, indicating that you have heard something by pressing a button.
Results on an audiogram
The results of the hearing test are then plotted on a graph called an audiogram. An audiogram is used to record the measurements of different volumes and frequencies (pitches) of sounds that you are able to hear. As well as showing a comparison between your ears, an audiogram can help to determine what type of hearing loss you have, if any.
The audiologist will show you this graph and talk you through what the results mean and what sort of treatment might be needed.
Advanced hearing aids
The good news is that today’s digital hearing aids work more effectively than ever and some are so small that people can't even tell you’re wearing them. As modern hearing aids work with our residual hearing, the sooner you take action the better the results will be. If you are over 55, you can also access free NHS hearing services through your local Specsavers. Visit your GP and request to be referred to your local centre.