Hearing tests are not a standard part of health screening for most of our lives, so by the time you come to need one, you may be unfamiliar with what is involved. If you’re in the process of preparing for your first hearing test, it may help ease your nerves to learn of four things that you should expect during the exam…

1. You will be asked for your life and medical history

You’re not going to have to pour your life story out to your audiologist, but you will be asked for an abridged version. The audiologist needs to know if you have experienced any excessive noise during your life (for example: if you worked in construction), as well as learn about any medications that you’re on. The reason for the latter is because some medications are known to be “ototoxic,” which means they can damage your hearing. It’s therefore worth taking along a list of any currently prescribed medications for reference.

2. The audiologist will listen more than they talk

During your hearing test, your audiologist is there to judge your hearing and your experiences. They will therefore be focused on your answers, rather than dominating the conversation. Not only does your audiologist have to assess your life and medical history, but they also need to ascertain which type of hearing test may be most suitable for the issues you are experiencing.

Of course, if you have any questions then your audiologist will be happy to answer them, but don’t be concerned if you’re doing most of the talking!

3. The tests will take place

The audiologist will examine your ears to determine their general health and look for signs of infection or ear wax build up. If you have an infection, they will likely suggest the infection is cleared via antibiotics prior to proceeding with the test— this will mean you need to contact your primary physician and rearrange your hearing test for a later date.

However, in the vast majority of cases, the tests will be performed on the same day. Depending on the type of test your audiologist decides is most useful for you, this will take anything from 20-60 minutes.

4. The results will be discussed

You don’t need to wait for results following your hearing test. When the tests have concluded, the audiologist will spend some time talking to you about the results. If hearing loss has been identified, you will also be advised on your next steps – for most people, this will involve pursuing a hearing aid. If no hearing loss has been identified, your audiologist will likely offer a few tips to help you maintain your hearing, and recommend another screening test 12 months later.

You will also have ample time to ask any further questions you have about what happens during the tests and what the results have shown.