Where to Get a Hearing Test
If you’re struggling with hearing loss, one of the first things you might wonder is where to actually get a hearing test. Luckily there are several options for you in the medical community. However, if you’re not ready to have a proper hearing test from a licensed professional, you might want to use one of these free apps to test your hearing online. For slightly more accurate results, you could also try taking a $5 hearing test via the phone, which is run by the folks at NationalHearingTest.org. Of course, the results of any of the above tests won’t be incredibly accurate, but they can give you a ballpark idea of how bad your hearing loss is. When you’re ready to take the next step and see an actual medical professional for a hearing test, you have 3 different types of specialists to choose from.
ENT Doctor: If you suspect there is anything unusual about your hearing loss, you should start off with a visit to the ear, nose, and throat doctor. So what would be considered “unusual?” If you are experiencing symptoms like dizzyness, drainage from either ear, sudden hearing loss, pain, or single-sided deafness, you should definitely start this process with an ENT because chances are you’ll need more than just a hearing test. The ear doctor can (if necessary) do a full evaluation of your hearing and balance, take scans, verify the proper functioning of your middle ear and inner ear, eustachian tubes, tympanic membranes, and more. The ear doctor will have more resources than both of the below-mentioned providers combined to diagnose your hearing loss and figure out the appropriate treatment option.
If you suspect your hearing loss is age-related, hereditary, or due to noise exposure, then you can do what most people do and go straight to an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser for a hearing test.
Audiologist: Audiology is a doctorate-level profession which requires 4 years of education beyond the bachelor’s degree. The job of an Audiologist is to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, and balance problems. Aside from an ENT doctor, an audiologist is the best qualified professional to test and actually diagnose your hearing loss. While it hasn’t always been the case, today, the majority of audiologists are also licensed as hearing aid dispensers, and as such, selling, fitting, and servicing hearing aids is usually their primary source of income. An audiologist’s scope of practice is narrower than an ENT doctor’s, but broader than a hearing aid dispenser’s.
Hearing Instrument Specialist: This professional title varies by state, as do the educational requirements. In most states, the minimum educational requirement is a high school degree. Hearing aid dispensers will then typically undergo a year of supervised vocational training and then successfully complete both practical and written exams administered by the state. In most states, hearing aid dispensers make all of their income from selling, servicing, and repairing hearing aids, and cannot charge for any type of hearing testing or rehabilitation/counseling services provided. As such, when your hearing test is administered by a hearing aid dispenser, it is likely to be free of charge.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.