Why is it Important to Test Hearing?

As with so many things regarding your health, when and how often to get your hearing tested depends on your personal situation. If you have a family history of hearing loss or work a job that exposes you to loud noise, you’ll want to be more diligent about hearing tests than someone without such factors to consider. 

In general, you should try to get your hearing checked every few years, starting in childhood. 
woman on hearing test

Who Should Get a Hearing Test?

Everyone should get a hearing test, and it can be done at any age! Get a baseline test, then go have your hearing checked every two to three years. Once you reach 55-60 years old, it is a good idea to move to an annual test as different medical conditions can affect your hearing.

What Should I Know Before my Hearing Test?

A baseline hearing test is, essentially, a snapshot of your hearing at a given point in time. Since most hearing loss is driven by environmental factors and the aging process, it can take quite some time to develop, so having that baseline information in your medical records gives physicians and audiologists a level to measure against in the future, should you begin to notice a change in your hearing down the line.
That baseline test is an important step toward maintaining healthy hearing for the long term, so make sure you have it done properly. Most primary care doctors don’t have the equipment or the expertise to administer a state-of-the-art hearing test, so be sure to ask for a referral to a certified audiologist. 
Seeing a certified professional, you can rest assured that they can assess your hearing thoroughly and provide your doctor with an excellent baseline reference to use in watching for signs of future hearing loss.

In terms of the test itself, a hearing test can be as quick as 30 minutes. Sometimes longer, if there is hearing loss detected, and more extensive tests are required. 

Additionally, if you have impacted wax, it could affect your hearing test. Talk with your healthcare provider about having the wax removed before your visit so that your hearing test is accurate.

Hearing tests have three parts:

1. Medical history review
Your hearing care provider will want to know everything he or she can about the roles sound and volume play in your lifestyle. You’ll also be asked about your overall health and various aspects of well-being that have been found to have a connection to healthy hearing.

During the visit, your healthcare provider will:
  • Discuss your goals and concerns
  • Discuss the effect of hearing loss on lifestyle
  • Other related health concerns
  • Provide education
2. Introductory exam
  • Otoscopy: This is a visual inspection of your ear canal and eardrum, to ensure the health of your outer ear. This is when your ear is checked for wax and any infection.
  • Tympanometry: This test checks your middle ear. This process looks at your eardrum, the bones in your ear, the flexibility of your eardrum, and the ability to send signals to the eardrum. This is a simple test done with a device in your ear. You’ll feel a bit of pressure, then hear beeps during the test.
  • Audiometry: This test is done in a sound booth, with headphones or ear inserts. It’s a pure tone test, to test your ability to hear different frequencies of tones at different volumes.
  • If hearing loss is indicated, you will also test for understanding of speech: words, the volume of words, sentences with a noisy background to help ascertain the amount of damage and loss.
  • For hearing loss, you will also be tested for bone conduction (the bone behind your ear) to help discover where the hearing loss is happening and to see if you might be a cochlear implant candidate or surgery candidate.
3. Consultation and discuss treatment options
Once all testing is completed, your practitioner will discuss your hearing health and treatment options should any be necessary.

Depending on your results, your audiologist will either:
  • recommend treatment for any significant hearing loss that is found, 
  • counsel you on lifestyle changes that are endangering your hearing,
  • give you an ‘all clear’ as well as some advice on how to keep it that way.
All of the above should take somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on how in-depth you go with the consultation part of the testing.

Beyond the Baseline

If your baseline hearing test shows signs of hearing loss—if your results are different at a statistically significant level from others of your relative age and health—your audiologist may suggest further tests during your consultation. If you test at an acceptable level, there’s no need to do anything else until your situation changes.

Which brings us to this question:
How do you know when that change occurs?
man on hearing test
As we’ve mentioned before, hearing loss tends to develop gradually. People can go for years, reflexively compensating for gradually increasing hearing loss, until it becomes a significant quality-of-life issue. Older adults, or those suffering from hearing loss, should get their hearing tested annually.
Also, research has shown enough connections between hearing issues and other aspects of overall health to justify annual hearing tests. For instance, given the sensitivity of hearing to blood flow, certain cardiovascular problems may very well be signaled by impaired hearing before they’re noticed elsewhere in the body.

Should Children and Teenagers Have Hearing Tests?

Most children tend to have hearing tests as a matter of course at birth and during their elementary school years, but there hasn’t been as much focus on hearing tests for pre-adults. 

In today’s era of personal electronics, however, it may be a very prudent move to get a baseline hearing test done earlier than adulthood. If you have a teenager who spends a lot of time wearing earbuds or earphones, listening to loud music and playing raucous video games, finding out if those high-volume activities are taking an early toll on their hearing may turn out to be one of the most important things you ever do as a parent.


Hearing loss can be devastating so protect your ear health by getting a baseline hearing test for and your loved ones. They are painless and easy and will identify any problems before they become unmanageable.

Take our online hearing test for free!