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Hearing tests for adults

If we need to test your hearing, you'll be given an appointment at an audiology centre. A hearing specialist (audiologist) will examine your ears and carry out hearing tests.

Your GP or a healthcare professional may refer you for this.

Non-urgent advice: Speak to a GP if:

  • you've noticed a problem with your hearing

Examining your ears

The hearing specialist will look inside your ears using a special torch called an an otoscope. They will look at your eardrum and ear canal.

Tests for hearing loss

The hearing specialist can also do some tests to check your hearing. The tests will not cause any pain or discomfort.

Acoustical reflex test

When we hear loud sounds, our ears trigger a protective reflex. The reflex tightens the small bones (ossicles) that connect the eardrum to the inner ear. This test can check whether sound is travelling correctly from the ear into the brain, then back down to the muscle that tightens the ossicles.

Pure tone audiometry

The hearing specialist will give you earphones to wear. They will ask you to press a button for as long as you can hear a sound. They will then reduce the volume to work out the lowest sound level you can hear at different pitches.

Tympanometry test

This test shows how well your eardrum moves when a soft sound and air pressure are played into the ear. It can help to identify middle ear problems, such as fluid collecting behind the eardrum.

Getting the results

You'll get the results right after the tests. We will discuss your results with you and then agree on what to do next.

Depending on the results, the hearing specialist may recommend:

  • providing you with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids
  • referring you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist for a medical opinion
  • other types of treatment, such as a cochlear implant or a bone-anchored hearing aid

The specialist can also give you advice about:

  • coping with the diagnosis
  • technology and other equipment that can help with hearing
  • benefits you may be entitled to
  • other services and professionals who can support you

Coping with hearing loss

If you suffer from hearing loss it can have an impact on your quality of life. But, there is lots of support and advice to help you adjust to the change.

The audiology service can help by:

  • showing you how to use and adjust a hearing aid
  • providing training in speech perception and communication
  • providing counselling to help you deal with the emotional and psychological effects of deafness

Organisations that can help with hearing loss

Page last reviewed: 31 January 2023
Next review due: 31 January 2026