Hearing loss is not uncommon, especially in older adults. In some cases, it is genetic. Other times, it arises due to continued exposure to loud noises, such as at concerts or the shooting range. If you or someone in your life thinks you might be struggling with hearing loss, then it's a good idea to see a doctor for a hearing evaluation. This is not an invasive or uncomfortable process, and it will allow you and your doctor to determine exactly what level of hearing loss you've experienced — if any. Here is a closer look at what you can expect.
You'll wear earphones and listen to noises.
The main portion of the hearing tests involves you wearing earphones that the doctor uses to play noises. As these noises are played, you will be asked to raise your hand if you hear them. Some of the noises may be beeps or squeals. Others may be spoken words or little tunes. Your doctor will often switch between ears often during the test. You'll need to raise the hand on the side of the ear that hears the noise. This helps the doctor assess hearing separately in each of your ears, and it helps ensure the test is as accurate as possible.
You may be asked to repeat words or phrases.
Sometimes, after you take the main part of the hearing test, your doctor will move on to a test in which you listen to speech against a background of other noise. You will be asked to listen to the speaker and repeat what they say, which will generally be phrases or short sentences. This part of the test is intended to assess how well you're able to hear in crowded spaces. If you struggle, it could be an indication of early, minor hearing loss.
The results will be available right away.
One nice thing about hearing evaluations is that you don't have to wait for the results as with a lot of other medical tests. Your doctor should tell you right then and there whether you have mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss. If so, you can move right towards treatments, which usually involve hearing aids.
Now that you know a little more about what hearing evaluations involve, you should feel more comfortable seeking one. These procedures truly are painless, and they're an important first step in dealing with suspected hearing loss.