Our customers often ask why they need a recent hearing test (also known as an audiogram) when they purchase new hearing aids. Often, they think of hearing tests as simple screens for hearing loss and they do not recognize the importance of an up to date assessment. 

However, a recent hearing test is as important to hearing aid performance as an eye test is to prescription eyeglasses.

A good hearing test provides a prescription for programming hearing aids to meet an individual’s exact hearing profile. A hearing professional will develop an audiogram (See image above) to record the degree of hearing loss at various tones and pitches. They will measure how well an individual hears and understands under different background noise conditions, and will assess an individual’s ability to tolerate loud sounds. Finally, they will determine whether hearing aids are recommended. If you choose to proceed, the information is then entered into specially designed software that will custom program the hearing aids to deliver maximum clarity for you. Individual programing will include variations on the filtration of background noise, and adjustments in volume, frequency, intensity levels, and maximum power output as well as a number of custom options that the individual will be offered. These inputs are completely dependent on the test results and will directly affect each individual users experience.

Individual hearing profiles can vary dramatically and can change substantially over time. “Normal” hearing ranges from 0 to 20 dB on the test in all frequencies. As we age, our high frequency hearing (shown on the right hand side of the audiogram above) declines but there is no set rate or pattern of change. These changes make it critical that hearing tests are repeated annually and that hearing aids are reprogrammed accordingly.

Getting a test: Hearing tests are offered by Audiologists and ENT doctors. As with any medical procedure, it is important to find someone that you can trust. The best place to start is someone recommended by a close friend or your doctor. When you book your test, be sure to tell them you want a copy of the results. They might charge you around $100 for this but having the test enables you to buy from anywhere you choose. We do not accept online hearing test results due to very poor accuracy.

Just as importantly, when you get a hearing tests, the doctor will examine your ear canals to be certain there is not some other health issue causing your hearing loss. Hearing loss can be caused by many conditions and it is important to verify that the use of a hearing aid or any other in-ear amplification device is the right solution for you.