How will my hearing be tested?
Whether you have your hearing tested through the NHS or privately, an audiologist (hearing specialist) will carry out tests to find out what type and level of hearing loss you have. They'll ask you about your hearing and test one ear at a time. It takes about 20 minutes and isn't uncomfortable.
What do the tests involve?
Usually, you'll listen through headphones to sounds of different tones and volumes and be asked to press a button or raise your hand each time you hear something. The noises will gradually become quieter to find the softest sounds that you can hear and the results recorded on a chart called on an audiogram.
You may also be given a headband with a vibrating pad. The pad sends sound through the bones in your head directly to the cochlea (hearing organ) in both your ears. Again, you'll be asked to signal each time you hear a sound. This test checks whether the cochlea and/or the hearing nerve are working or damaged.
At some point, the audiologist may play a rushing noise into one ear to cover up sounds while they test the other ear.
The tests may vary and you may be asked to come back for more tests to find out more about your ears and hearing.
What happens if the tests show I have hearing loss?
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, your audiologist will explain the type of hearing loss you have and the level (mild, moderate, severe or profound). You can find out more in our hearing loss and deafness section.
The audiologist may also discuss whether hearing aids are likely to help you, or if you could have some other treatment. Find out more in our hearing aids and other treatments section.