It’s normal to be nervous of any test, but I’d like to explain exactly what’s involved with a hearing test so you can set your fears aside and enjoy all the benefits of looking after your hearing health.
Below, I’ve answered some common questions asked to put these fears to rest so you can feel fully prepared and knowledgeable before you come see us.
Why Do People Avoid Hearing Assessments?
A lot of people are afraid they’re going to be told they have a hearing loss and now they have to buy hearing aids. And people have their preconceived misconceptions of what investing in hearing aids really entails.
It’s the same reason why a lot of people don’t want to go to the dentist. While the dentist visit could be painful, a hearing test isn’t, but people worry that they’re going to end up with an expensive bill.
But as a respected hearing centre in Ontario, we’re here to help. We’re not here to make money. And the cost of not being able to hear well or not hear at all is much higher than the investment in professional hearing healthcare.
You might not have a hearing loss at all and just need wax cleaned out of your ear.
What Are The Benefits Of Regular Hearing Assessments?
Hearing test frequency – We recommend getting a hearing test every year. You get your eyes checked every year; you get your teeth checked. Why not your hearing?
Hearing test age – It’s good to start assessments at the age of 50 because if we can keep an eye on where your hearing loss is going, there are tips we can give along the way to maybe help maintain your hearing at the current level so it doesn’t slip in five or ten years.
Maybe are you still going to loud rock concerts but need to wear some of your hearing protection now. We can give that kind of advice to people so that they’re not shocked in ten years to find out that their hearing’s way down here now.
However, we’re seeing a lot of younger people come in with a hearing loss lately, so if you suspect any loss at all, whatever your age, please come see us for a hearing assessment so you can prevent any further degeneration down the road.
Signs You Need A Hearing Assessment
Common signs for needing a hearing assessment are:
- Asking people to repeat themselves over and over
- Withdrawing from conversations
- Needing the TV too loud
- Missing important parts of conversations and meetings
It all becomes very frustrating.
A hearing assessment is also the first necessary step in diagnosing and treating tinnitus – ringing in the ears.
Comprehensive Hearing Assessment vs. Online Hearing Test
Doing a hearing test online is good way to get just a quick idea if there’s anything wrong, which is why we provide one on our site, but one needs to be followed up with booking the full hearing assessment.
The main thing that concerns me about an online test is that there’s no visual examination of the ear canal and eardrum, which we use to determine what’s going on. An otoscopy will show us blockages and the condition of the eardrum, giving us vital information an online test cannot.
On top of that, a full hearing assessment measures how your eardrum responds to certain volumes, or we might notice other issues. So when you come in for a hearing assessment, it’s not just about where your hearing level is at. It’s also about the health of your ears.
Free Hearing Screening vs Comprehensive Hearing Assessment?
A full hearing assessment is much more thorough. Free screenings usually include a quick air and bone test and sometimes speech recognition, while a full hearing test includes the visual examination of your ear, tympanometry (which tests your eardrum), speech testing, word testing, air testing, and bone testing.
The free hearing screening is more about seeing if there’s any hearing loss and the other one is about every aspect of hearing health.
How Much Is A Hearing Assessment?
At the time of this writing, our government is completely redoing its perspective on hearing assessment costs, so I don’t know at all where our pricing is going to be at or when we’ll have new prices up.
Currently, some of our hearing screenings are free, so call us to see what we offer, as we’ll only know our hearing test prices on a week-by-week basis until the new rules are in place.
How Do I Book A Hearing Assessment?
Contact us. You can phone us, email us, or request an appointment or a callback on the website, and you can expect a confirmation call that day if you book during our business hours of 9 AM to 5 PM.
We have a hearing centre in Kitchener, Guelph, Simcoe, and Waterloo, so book your hearing test for the location nearest you.
We’ll give you a call the day before just to confirm the appointment time, go over the COVID questions, and see if there’s any questions you have before coming in.
How Do I Prepare For A Hearing Assessment?
Caffeine can make the heartbeat sound louder during the test, so we ask people to lay off the caffeine for an hour before the assessment. Other than that, there’s nothing you need to do.
We’ll give you a call the day before to confirm the appointment time, go over the COVID questions, and see if you have any questions before coming in.
Should I Bring Someone With Me?
Having a companion with you is great, even if just for filling out the case history. We always recommend it. Sometimes you might forget something or you might not remember, and your companion may know.
It can be hard to do these things alone, especially when you’re listening to results. Sometimes people get a little emotional and having someone there who might hear something you missed, or didn’t hear because of the hearing loss, is very helpful.
What Happens When I Arrive?
We greet you and start our “getting to know you” part. We ask you to fill out the case history form and give any other medical info we might need. Then the clinician will bring you into the test room.
What’s Involved In The Assessment?
History – The first thing we do is go over what you’ve noticed about your hearing, and we also go through your medical history with you to see if there’s anything we should further discuss.
Visual exam – We take a look to make sure there’s nothing in the ear canal. If there’s wax completely occluding your ear, we might need to do an earwax removal right then or rebook for earwax removal, because it can sometimes take a while to clean out stubborn earwax.
We also look for other red flags or things of interest in the ear canal and look at the health of your eardrum by seeing how it responds to various tiny puffs of pressurised air.
Sound booth –
- We start off by doing speech recognition, word recognition, and speech thresholds. These tell us the volume level you need to understand and hear what someone is saying to you. It also tells us if you have some cognitive issues as well.
- From there, we do the pure tone testing, which is when you press the button when you hear the beeps at different volumes and pitches.
- Then we put a device on the bone at the back of your ear and repeat that test. This measures how your bone conducts sound and tells us if there’s an issue with your middle ear or your inner ear.
Results – After that, we go over the results to determine whether you need treatment, and if so, what your best next steps are. This part is completely up to you – we are here to support your decision.
What Tools Do You Use?
We use video otoscopy so we can show you what the inside of your ear looks like while we’re looking inside your ear canal, although sometimes all you’ll see is earwax.
We use a tympanometer to puff tiny blasts of air into the ear canal at different pressures to see how the eardrum responds.
We have an audiometer to measure your hearing in the sound booth.
Is A Hearing Test Painful?
A hearing test is a painless procedure, so if there’s pain, there’s a problem. With the tympanometry test in the eardrum, you feel a little burst of air in your ear, but it’s not painful.
How Soon Do You Receive The Results?
We give you the results right away – for your level of hearing, the health of your eardrum, the health of your ear canal, and your level of hearing loss, if any.
What Happens If A Hearing Loss Is Detected?
If a hearing loss is detected, we give our expert opinion on what we think is the best course of action. Rest assured that we never push anyone to buy anything they don’t want or don’t feel comfortable with.
We give our recommendations based on a number of factors. What kind of activities do you do? Are you still working? What type of work? What’s your budget? We take all those things into consideration when we’re trying to find out the best option for each person, and then we present all those options.
It’s your decision. If you decide it’s not the right time to buy anything, then that’s fine. We’ve let you know the options and leave things in your hands.
We like to always do an in-office demo. We put the hearing aids on as we’re explaining all these things to you so you can see the difference between treatment vs. waiting. A lot of people cry when we do this because they realize how many sounds they’ve been missing out on.
What Happens After The Appointment?
If you decide you would like to go ahead with the hearing treatment you’ve chosen, then we move to the ordering procedure, when you have the fun part of deciding the colours, options, and accessories you’d like.
Then we book a fitting appointment, usually about two weeks out – to give the manufacturer time to put together your custom-ordered hearing aids. Two weeks later, we do your initial fitting. This ensures the hearing aid fits well on your ear and is properly adjusted for your hearing settings.
Ready To Start Your Better Hearing Journey?
We look forward to speaking to you soon.