What happens in an audiology appointment
If you are referred to an audiologist (a hearing healthcare professional), they will assess your hearing.
A typical audiology assessment lasts between 30 minutes and one hour. The appointment will include:
- a discussion about your work and lifestyle, to find out which noises you hear a lot
- talking about hearing difficulties and your medical history
- an examination of your ears
- a hearing test
The hearing test, which is called pure-tone audiometry, involves sitting in a soundproof room, wearing headphones and pressing a button every time you hear a sound.
This test is painless and normally lasts around 15 minutes.
It produces a graph called an audiogram, which shows the quietest level where you can just hear a sound. They will measure this over a range of pitches for each ear.
Your audiologist may do some other tests, depending on the type of hearing loss you have.
The results of your assessment will be available immediately, and your audiologist will go through these with you.
What happens if you are diagnosed with hearing loss
Your audiologist will talk to you about your type of hearing loss and what is likely to have caused it.
Your audiologist will also talk to you about the degree of hearing loss, which ranges from:
These are clinical terms used by audiologists, and they are based on the outcomes recorded in your audiogram.
You might not feel like they reflect your experience of your hearing. Some people find the results surprising, since they feel like they can hear better or worse than the results suggest. This is quite common.
Your audiologist will also talk to you about the best way to manage your hearing loss. For most people, the recommendation will be hearing aids.
If you decide to try hearing aids, your audiologist will explain what’s available and the next steps.
They might take an impression of your ear during the appointment. This process is painless and involves the audiologist placing some putty-like material inside your ear for a couple of minutes. This is so they can make a custom earmould.
Depending on which type of hearing aid you need, they might even be able to fit it during your appointment.
If you decide not to go ahead with hearing aids at this time, you’ll be advised to see your GP for any further hearing tests.
In some cases your audiologist may suggest you see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. They will explain why, and usually this isn’t something to be concerned about.