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If you're here, it's for one of two reasons. Either you understand the importance of hearing tests and want to start getting regular hearing exams, or you've noticed something wrong with your hearing. Regardless of your reasons, we'll go over where to look, how to schedule a hearing exam, and what you can expect when you get your hearing tested.

Before You Begin

Before beginning your search for an audiology practice or hearing clinic, there are a few self-evaluation questions you should ask yourself: 
  • Am I over the age of forty, and if so, has it been more than a year since I last got my hearing tested? 
  • Do I have trouble discerning speech, or does it seem like people frequently mumble? 
  • Do I frequently have to ask people to speak more loudly during conversation? 
  • Is it difficult for me to use the telephone? 
  • Do I have trouble following conversations in large groups or when there's a lot of background noise? 
  • Do I find celebrations and events particularly stressful? 
  • Do I find Zoom calls and teleconferences abnormally exhausting? 
  • Do I frequently find myself turning up the volume of media that I'm watching?
  • Do I have trouble watching media without subtitles? 
  • Do I sometimes fail to hear sounds like the doorbell or phone? 
  • Do I experience frequent tinnitus? 
  • Does it seem like there are fewer and fewer birds singing outside?
  • As a pedestrian, am I sometimes startled by cars driving past because I didn't hear them coming? 
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it's in your best interest to schedule an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible. We'd also recommend checking your hearing via our online hearing test. Although it's no substitute for an examination by a professional audiologist, it can still give you at least some indication of your hearing health and ability.  

Finding a Hearing Care Professional Near You

You can use our online booking tool to schedule an in-office evaluation with a hearing care professional. We'll help you locate the nearest Connect Hearing Center to get you started. If there are no Connect Hearing locations near you, you can instead check an online hearing directory to find an audiologist.

You'll want to look for the following:
  • Fully licensed and certified with a Master's or Doctoral Degree in Audiology. 
  • Accepts insurance and is willing to work with your insurance provider. 
  • A large number of positive reviews online. 
  • Works with several different hearing aid manufacturers. 

What Happens During a Hearing Test?

Step One: Lifestyle Assessment
Before testing, your hearing care professional will perform a lifestyle assessment.

Their goal at this stage is to better understand who you are as a patient and as a person. They're looking for anything that may impact your hearing or contribute to hearing loss. The questions they'll likely ask include, but are not limited to: 
  • Do you believe your hearing is deteriorating? Why or why not? 
  • Are you exposed to loud noises regularly? 
  • Do you regularly smoke or drink? 
  • What are your sleeping habits? 
  • What are your eating habits? 
  • How frequently do you exercise? 
  • What medications do you take? 
  • What is your family's medical history?  
The more information you can provide your practitioner, the more accurate they'll be able to make their diagnosis at the end of your hearing test. 
Step Two: Physical Exam
Once the lifestyle assessment is complete, the hearing care professional may perform a physical examination of your ears. This will allow them to identify blockages or injuries as possible causes of hearing loss. It may also help them identify issues such as ear infections. 

The hearing care professional will typically use a specialized device known as an otoscope. They may follow up their otoscopic examination with a pressure test, also known as a tymp test. This involves another device that gently emits a puff of air into the ear canal. 

Both tests are non-intrusive and should be painless. 
Step Three: Audiometric Testing
After the physical exam, the hearing care professional will progress to [audiometric testing.] Their goal at this stage is to determine your baseline level of hearing and the extent of your hearing impairment, if any is present. The most common hearing exam type is a pure-tone audiometry test. 

Typically, your hearing care professional will have you sit in a specialized, soundproof booth wearing a pair of high-quality headphones. They will then emit a series of tones at various volumes and frequencies through the headphones, instructing you to indicate when you can hear each tone. 

They may also have you undergo a speech audiometry test, where you'll be asked to repeat specific words; this measures your capacity to hear and understand speech. 
Step Four: Audiogram
Once your hearing test is done, your hearing care professional will create a chart known as an [audiogram] from the collected data. As a visual representation of your hearing health, this chart demonstrates the extent and nature of your hearing loss. Your hearing care practitioner will go over the audiogram with you and explain its meaning. 

What To Do After Your Hearing Test

Your hearing care practitioner will advise you on next steps after reviewing your audiogram. If you are experiencing hearing loss, they will generally help you select a hearing aid, giving you several options based on your needs and the level of impairment you're experiencing. They may also advise you on steps you can take to manage your hearing beyond wearing a hearing assistance device.

In extreme cases, they may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist, also known as an otolaryngologist. 

Additional Articles

Hearing Care Professionals
Understanding Audiograms: A Visual Representation of Your Hearing Health
3 Reasons to Get a Professional Hearing Test