What to Expect at a Hearing Test

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Step 1

A hearing health history form is filled out, including HIPPA compliance and insurance records release forms.

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Step 2

Ear Examination: Our Specialist uses a video-otoscope to examine the ear canals. The patient gets to see what the specialist is seeing on a TV or monitor. The ear canal is examined to see if there is a cerumen (wax) impaction, infection, deformities, perforations in the tympanic membrane (ear drum), or any other conditions that might indicate that a medical referral is in order. If the video-otoscope is unavailable then the hearing professional will examine the ear canal with a hand held otoscope.

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Step 3

A standard hearing test consists of several steps:

  • Air Conduction Pure Tone Test:
    The patient listens to pure tones through a head set or insert earphones. Tones at significantly more frequencies ranging from 250Hz to 8KHz are presented.
  • Bone Conduction Pure Tone Test:
    The patient listens to pure tones through the use of a vibrating device that is placed behind the ear on the mastoid bone. This bypasses the mechanics of the ear, sending sounds via vibration to the middle ear.
  • MCL= Most Comfortable Level:
    Speech is used to determine what level is the most comfortable to listen to.
  • UCL= Uncomfortable Level:
    Speech is used to determine the maximum loudness level one can tolerate. This is used as a guide to determine the maximum output level of a hearing aid. An unusually low UCL may indicate a medical condition is affecting one’s hearing.
  • Speech Discrimination Test:
    This test involves the repetition of one syllable words. This helps us give realistic expectations as to how well one will understand speech with hearing aids.
  • Speech Reception Threshold:
    The repetition of phonetically balanced two syllable words while decreasing the volume. This determines the minimum hearing level at which one can understand half of the time.

Complete Hearing Test


Speech Discrimination Score


Speech Reception Threshold

Step 4

The test results are explained and recommendations are made for either hearing aids or physician referral.

Step 5

The following Red Flags have been established by the FDA to help determine whether a physicians referral is in order:

  • Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear.
  • History of active drainage from the ear in the previous 90 days.
  • History of sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss within the previous 90 days.
  • Acute or chronic dizziness
  • Unilateral hearing loss of sudden or recent onset within the previous 90 days
  • Audiometric air-bone gap equal to or greater than 15 decibels at 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz, and 2,000 Hz.
  • Visible evidence of significant cerumen (ear wax) accumulation or a foreign body in the ear canal
  • Pain or discomfort in the ear.

Now that my hearing test is done and I find I need hearing aids, what is next?

  • 1. The patient is required to sign a Federal Waiver of Medical Examination form should they not want to see a physician prior to purchasing a hearing instrument.
  • 2. The test results are explained and recommendations are made based on hearing loss, physical limitations of the ear, dexterity, cosmetic desires, lifestyle and budget.
  • 3. Any necessary impressions are taken and the ear may be measured for proper fit.
  • 4. A detailed Purchase Agreement is signed.
  • 5. Hearing Aids are either fit on that same day or they are ordered. Standard turn around time for custom hearing aids and earmolds is two weeks.
  • 6. Every patient is allowed an adjustment period during which time the hearing aids can be tried in their own listening environment.

Do I Need A Hearing Test?

Ask Yourself the following questions:

  • Do I ask others to repeat?
  • Do I hear but not understand?
  • Do people seem to mumble?
  • Do people say I play the TV too loud?
  • Do I miss the telephone ringing?
  • Do I miss the telephone ringing?
  • Do I sit near the front to hear better?

If you've answered “yes” to any or all these questions, you should have your hearing screened.