A hearing test lasts about 20 minutes and isn't uncomfortable. Before the hearing specialist starts, they will ask you about your hearing and check your ears. They will then test one ear at a time.
For the standard test, called audiometry, you will listen to sounds of different tones and volumes through headphones and will be asked to press a button each time you hear a sound. The noises will gradually become quieter to find the softest sounds that you can hear. The results of the test will be recorded on a chart called on an audiogram.
The audiologist might then ask you to wear a headband with a vibrating pad. This pad sends sound through the bones in your head directly to the cochlea (the hearing organ in your inner ear), on both sides of your head. Again, you’ll be asked to press a button each time you hear a sound. This test checks whether the cochlea and hearing nerve are working or damaged.
At some point, the audiologist might play a rushing noise into one ear to cover up sounds while they test your other ear.
Some audiology services carry out slightly different tests, and you may need more tests to find out more about your ears and hearing.
What happens if the tests show hearing loss?
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, the audiologist will explain the type of hearing loss you have and whether it can be treated. They will also let you know whether hearing aids could help you.