Hearing Test

40% of the information provided by our senses comes from our ears*

Your ears also play an important role in keeping you balanced. Ever wondered why sometimes when you’ve had a cold, you’ve felt dizzy or off balance? The inner ear contains fluid, and the way this fluid moves throughout this area is how the brain identifies balance (imagine a builder’s Spirit Level!)

Your ears are precision instruments, containing the smallest bones in the human body and performing delicate auditory functions.

Exposure to excessive amounts of loud noise and ageing can cause your ears to not receive and process sounds as well as they used to. A drop in hearing is usually so gradual that most people aren’t even aware that they are not hearing as well as they used to, hence the importance of having them checked regularly.

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Hearing Test
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What can I expect from a hearing test?

The consultation is a professionally conducted, thorough and pain-free exercise. Most tests can be conducted within a 30 – 45 minute time frame, although discussions about options for your ear health can take a little longer – allow an hour. A hearing test will always involve an examination of your ears to check the canals are clear,  and eardrums are intact and a healthy pearly colour. 

During the hearing test which is conducted in a room that meets strict ambient noise level criteria,  you will wear headphones which allows the Audiologist to test your ability to hear sounds at varying levels and frequencies, in one ear then the other. You will acknowledge the sound by pressing a button, and all your responses will be collated and the Audiologist will then show you how you are hearing on your personalised audio-gram (an easy to comprehend graph).

Hearing Tests for Children 

For children, this consultation takes slightly longer, and you can expect more play/animation involved to keep your little ones comfortable and engaged throughout the process. Children should be tested by a Paediatric Audiologist. 

If you are concerned about your child’s hearing or if their speech and language development seems slower than expected please reach out to us.

Potential Outcomes from Your Hearing Test?

Hearing loss (if you have it),  is measured in decibels. Usual conversation is around 65 decibels. 

  • mild loss (21 – 45) – soft sounds may be hard to hear
  • moderate (46 – 60) – conversations are hard to hear,  particularly if there is background noise
  • moderately severe (61 – 75) – it is very difficult to hear conversations
  • severe (76 – 90) – conversations cannot be heard
  • profound (91) – almost all sounds are inaudible

Ear Wax

Should you have wax build up that might affect the hearing performance of your ears, you will be referred to a nearby medical practice who specialise in the safe removal of wax by a vacuum process, under a microscope. Be careful to ensure you never have your ears syringed using the pressurised water method to dislodge wax, as this can result in damage to your ears and hearing.

Your Audiologist will always take the time to fully explain your test outcomes at the appointment. 

Other Conditions

In the event a hearing test indicates your ears might require on-referral to a specialist,  our team of health professionals have an extensive referral network, including Ear Nose and Throat Specialists should you need additional care.

Different Hearing and Ear Tests Available at Sunshine Hearing 

An Audiologist is a health professional who spends 6 years studying the ear and it’s important functions. A hearing test is also sometimes referred to as a hearing assessment, but neither should be confused with a hearing check, or a hearing screen. These terms are used in the hearing industry to describe a simple process of checking how you hear at some basic noise levels and do serve a purpose in identifying people who will benefit from professional hearing care (and who should proceed to have a full hearing test).

Sadly, hearing checks and screenings can be used by ‘aggressive’ hearing aid retailers, usually based in noisy shopping centres, to lure people into their shops so they can fulfil their primary objective – to sell you an expensive hearing aid that may not meet your needs.   

A wide range of tests are conducted by our Audiologists, depending on which ones in their professional opinion are appropriate. Also many patients are referred to Sunshine Hearing by General Practitioners and medical specialists, who often specify what test they want performed on your ears.

Tympanometry
This is an objective test of middle ear function. It is used to determine the condition of the middle ear, testing the responsiveness of the ear drum and the function of the middle ear bones, the Ossicles. This is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of middle ear infections.

Acoustic Reflex Testing
During Acoustic reflex testing you will hear a loud sound for a very short period of time. This test provides an indication of the neural connections between the ear and the brain by measuring the activation of the stapedius muscle.

Otoacoustic Emissions (also referred to as OAE’s)
This is where a tiny microphone is placed in the ear canal and measures the cochlea’s response to a click stimulus. OAE’s are a good test of cochlear health. We conduct this test on all ages and it takes around 5 minutes to complete.

Auditory Brainstem Response
This test measures the integrity of the acoustic nerve from the cochlea to the brainstem as well as providing an indication of overall hearing levels. We mainly conduct this test on children, however it may be used at any age if required.

Central Auditory Processing
We use a number of specific tests to determine how well the brain processes auditory information. Individuals with Auditory Processing Disorder usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle and inner ear (peripheral hearing, however, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do. This leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting speech in difficult environments (for example in a school classroom).