What to expect

If you or your loved ones have noticed some of the common signs of hearing loss or you have been given a referral from your GP your first step is to book a hearing assessment.

When making your appointment please allow for one hour to complete a comprehensive assessment and to discuss the results with your Audiologist.

At the beginning of your assessment your Audiologist will ask you about your hearing loss and medical history.  For example, you may be asked about noise exposure, any diseases of the ear you may have had, and your family history.  This will help the Audiologist to form a complete picture of your hearing. 

You will then be guided through a series of painless audiological tests:

  • Otoscopic examination - The Audiologist will visually examine the inside of your ear using an otoscope.  This will determine if there is any blockage or damage to the ear drum.  Excessive wax build up may affect the accuracy of your hearing test so wax may be removed if necessary.
  • Impedance audiometry (also called tympanometry) - This brief test will assess the movement of your ear drum and the function of your middle ear.  The Audiologist will place the tip of a handheld tool into your ear which will measure the ear's response to a change in air pressure and to sound.
  • Air and bone conduction tests (also called pure tone audiometry) - You will be asked to sit in a sound proof booth or room with a set of headphones on.  A range of beeps will be played through the headphones and you will be asked to indicate each time you hear the tone by pressing a button.  This test is called air conduction.  The test may also be performed using a bone conduction vibrator which is placed behind the ear.  Bone conduction is painless and will test the performance of the inner ear.  The Audiologist will plot your results on a graph called an audiogram to indicate the degree and type of hearing loss present. 
  • Speech audiometry (also called speech discrimination test) - You will listen to a set of words at a comfortable hearing level and be asked to repeat these words back to the Audiologist.  This test can help the Audiologist predict whether speech would be clearer with a hearing aid. 
  • Loudness discomfort testing - The volume in the headphones will slowly be raised and you will be asked to indicate when the sound becomes uncomfortable to listen to.  This ensures the hearing aids maximum volume does not exceed your loudness discomfort level.
  • Speech in noise testing determines how much louder someone needs to speak so they can be heard over other noisy conversations.  This helps us to determine what hearing aid would suit you best (technology level, manufacturer and hearing aid style).
  • Background noise tolerance testing shows within 85% accuracy whether you would benefit from a hearing aid and whether you would find amplified background noise too loud to accept a hearing aid.

At the conclusion of the assessment you will receive a full explanation of the results and a hearing aid discussion if necessary.  The Audiologist will advise if a referral for medical diagnosis and management is necessary and will recommend ways in which you can improve your hearing, communication, and quality of life.  

Following your visit, your Audiologist will write a letter to your GP or referring specialist detailing your results and their recommendations.


Hearing assessments for children

Several methods can be used to test a child's hearing depending on their age or development.  Behavioural tests can be used to carefully observe a child's response to sounds.  Play audiometry is often used where the child is asked to perform a play task, such as placing a peg in a pegboard, each time a sound is heard.  Our Audiologists frequently test children's hearing and will identify the most appropriate approach for your child.

The Audiologist will discuss your child's results and any recommendations with you and with your child's GP, referring speech pathologist or teacher etc.