Hearing test locations

3 Places To Get a Hearing Test in Auckland

Ear Health has three clinic locations in Auckland where you can get a hearing test, Birkenhead, Devonport and Grey Lynn. You may also be offered a free quick hearing test, called a hearing screening, during a regular earwax removal appointment.

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A hearing screening will help determine if you are a candidate for a full diagnostic hearing test. A hearing screening usually takes a couple of minutes and provides an indication that you may or may not have a hearing loss.

A full diagnostic hearing test is much more thorough and takes about an hour. At the end of a hearing test, you will have an audiogram and a full explanation of your hearing loss type and severity.

4 Simple Steps To Get a Hearing Test

Perhaps you’re considering a test but aren’t sure what it would involve. Or maybe you’ve made an appointment and are wondering what it’ll be like. Rest assured, it’s a gentle and easy test to do – and you may find it quite interesting. Here’s what’s involved…

Step 1: Just Do It!

On average, there’s a lag of about 7 years between the time when someone’s hearing begins to decline and the time when they finally get a hearing test. There’s often a reluctance to admit there might be a problem or a fear of having to wear a hearing aid. But there are consequences for delaying. 

Living with even mild hearing loss makes your brain work harder. It has to throw most of its resources into decoding sounds, neglecting other tasks like your working memory. Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. It can also be difficult for your relationships and leave you socially isolated. 

If you’re showing signs of hearing loss, then it’s wise to get tested. You can make an appointment to get your hearing tested in Auckland today. Who knows, you might get a perfect hearing score and prove everyone wrong!

Step 2: Understand the Components of Sound

There are two components to sound: intensity (loudness) and frequency (pitch). 

A hearing test is designed to test your ability to hear sounds that range from quiet to loud and from a low pitch to a high one. Often people with mild hearing loss struggle to hear softer sounds. It’s usually the high-pitched sounds that are lost first, meaning you might easily hear men talking but not hear young children’s voices. 

Sounds are created by vibrations in the air molecules around us. Big vibrations create loud noises (measured in decibels or dB) while gentle vibrations result in quieter ones. The frequency of vibrations per second creates a sound’s pitch, measured in hertz (Hz). Fast vibrations create a high-frequency sound like a squeal or whistle. Slow vibrations create low-pitched sounds like a man’s deep voice or a rumble of thunder. 

Step 3: Which Hearing Tests Might You Take?

When you arrive at the clinic, you’ll be greeted by the receptionist and asked to wait until the audiologist is ready. When it’s your turn, one of our skilled and friendly audiologists will call you into a consultation room and get you ready for your test. There are a few different types of tests and your audiologist will determine which are suitable for you. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about which tests you take.

Pure Tone Audiometry

One of the most common is pure tone audiometry. An audiometer (special machine) produces a series of beeps and whistles (pure tones). When you hear the sound, you press a button. At the end of the test, a report shows how many of the different sounds you were able to hear, showing you whether you struggle with higher-pitched or quieter sounds. 

You can listen to those pure tones in a couple of ways. Wearing headphones allows the audiologist to test your air conduction hearing, seeing how your outer hearing pathway works with your inner ear. Alternatively, they might use a bone conductor, a little vibrator held behind your ear that measures how well your inner hearing pathways are functioning. 

Speech Discrimination Test

The next type of test is a speech discrimination test. If you’ve ever had an eye test, you’ll know that some shapes and letters look similar when they’re blurry around the edges then become clearer as the right lens brings them into focus. It’s similar to sounds. Some speech sounds begin to blur, sounding so similar that you can’t tell the difference. You can hear the words easily but can’t distinguish between them. During a conversation, you might find it hard to understand words that begin or end with ‘s’, ‘f’, ‘h’ or ‘th’. 

You’ll wear headphones for this test. The audiologist will make sure all the sounds are loud enough for you to hear. Then the audiologist will play one-syllable words that you might hear in normal conversation such as ‘jar’ or ‘box’. When you hear the word, you repeat it to the audiologist. 

The speech discrimination test helps the audiologist decide whether or not a hearing aid would help you. If you get a high score on the speech discrimination test then it may mean that your main hearing problem is with volume rather than distinguishing between sounds. A hearing aid can help boost the sounds. If you score low on the speech discrimination test then a hearing aid may not be the best or only treatment since simply making the sounds louder doesn’t help distinguish between them.

Step 4: The Ultimate Goal Is to Hear Better

Your audiologist is able to interpret the results of your hearing test to determine whether you have any hearing loss and, if you do, what’s the best way of helping you hear better. 

There are many different treatments available, depending on the root cause of your hearing loss. Some are occasional minor procedures like microsuction to remove a blockage caused by impacted ear wax. Others involve the ongoing use of a device like a hearing aid or surgery to drain fluid or remove bony growths that may be affecting your hearing. 

Once you’ve started a course of treatment, we’ll invite you back for a review appointment to check how it’s going and make any adjustments that may be necessary. Once a patient is hearing well again, they often become aware of just how much they’ve been missing and tell us that they wish they’d come for a hearing test much sooner!

What do I do if I need a hearing test in Auckland?

Hover here to find out!

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This page was written by Ron Trounson Charge Audiologist at Ear Health on 23 August 2020.

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