Like a lots of areas of their health, many people take their hearing for granted until something goes wrong, or there are some signs of their hearing being affected.
The effects of hearing loss can be significant for any individual, affecting both their personal life and their work life, their emotional health and their relationship with family and friends.
According to government figures, approximately one in six Australians has some degree of hearing loss, and whilst there are different causes, these figures do highlight the need for continual and ongoing hearing tests throughout an individual's life.
Types of Hearing Loss
A hearing test can identify if there is any loss of hearing or not, give guidance as to the main causes of hearing loss, and act as a preventative measure for people who are at risk.
Most types of hearing loss break down into a number of fairly broad categories, covering the older population, the effects of ageing, people who are continually exposed to loud music or noise through their work, such as construction.
Certain diseases and illnesses can also have a knock-on effect on someone's hearing, as can certain medications. A hearing test can also detect and possibly help with early signs of conditions such as tinnitus.
Who Conducts a Hearing Test
A hearing test needs to be conducted by a qualified clinician, such as a GP, an ear, nose and throat specialist or an audiologist.
Many professionals recommend that adults should have a hearing test approximately every 10 years. The hearing test should identify if there is any loss of hearing, if so, how much loss there has been, and what help or solutions may be available.
What Does a Hearing Test Involve
Hearing tests should have a degree of flexibility, depending upon the age and lifestyle of the person involved, but there are a number of factors most tests would include.
Most clinicians would start with a lifestyle questionnaire, covering medical, social and personal information. This should normally be done before any inspection of the eardrum itself.
The invasive section of the test is likely to include a microscope, a video-otoscopy and tympanometry, which assesses the condition of the middle rear through variations of pressure in the ear canal.
Another element of a hearing test can include a speech test, which can give some indication of speech and hearing co-ordination and understanding.
Some clinicians use a soundproof booth where the individual is played a variety of sounds, and the patient's response indicates what level of hearing is strongest and where it is weakest.
Benefits of a Hearing Test.
If some loss of hearing is detected, a qualified audiologist or another clinician should be able to advise on the best course of treatment. This may include a hearing aid, of which there is a wide variety. Hearing aids also vary widely in terms of effectiveness and cost.
Advice may also be given on preventative measures, either to prevent a further deterioration in hearing or to stabilise someone's present condition.
This can include basic things such as not putting anything such as cotton buds into your ears in order to clean them or how to deal with any social isolation that may occur as the result of partial or total hearing loss.
For more information, contact a clinic that offers hearing tests.