Your Hearing Test: What’s It All About, Anyway?

By Carolyn Odio, HLAA-WA Board Member

You get your eyes checked, right? Think about getting your hearing tested too, even if you think have no problems. Many hearing aid offices will provide you with free hearing tests. It’s good to keep the test results, including your audiogram, to see the progression of your hearing over time.

For help reading your audiogram, you can watch this short video.

If you’re having problems, especially with hearing in background noise, ask to include a QuickSIN test along with your regular hearing test. (You won’t get this test unless you ask for it.) I got my QuickSIN with no additional charge at Kaiser. Your result (a number) appears at the top of your audiogram, as shown here. Here’s a chart to help you interpret that number. And below is an example of a hearing test. The blue arrow shows you where to look for your QuickSIN.

It is also possible that you have a normal audiogram, but you have a problem hearing in background noise. This is sometimes called hidden hearing loss. Many audiologists don’t know how to treat this and miss this diagnosis entirely since it does not show up on your audiogram. Treating this condition is a what the NIH (National Institutes of Health) is discussing here.

If the results of your audiogram indicate that you do have hearing loss, then you need to meet with your audiologist to find out more about the options. It is also good to consider meeting with your ENT (medical doctor) to be sure that you rule out a physical problem with your auditory nerve, etc. Then, if hearing aids are recommended, you can pursue that option.

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