What to expect from your hearing test consultation

An otoscope used as part of a hearing consultation

Getting your hearing checked should be as regular an appointment as visiting the dentist or optician, but for many this isn’t the case. This leads to many of our patients coming into our North London audiology clinics with little understanding of the tests and procedures that will be performed. In some cases this can also lead to a build up of nervousness, making the patient less likely to get their all important checkup.

To quell these totally unnecessary fears we have decided to take you through what can be expected from one of our hearing tests, putting your mind at ease and giving you a better understanding of the results we find, and how we find them.

Booking an appointment

All of our appointments start with the booking process. Whether it be through our website or over the phone, we will always do our best to see our patients as soon as possible at a time that suits them. To achieve this our audiology practice in Golders Green is open 6 days a week from 8am to 8pm Sunday through Thursday, and 8am to 5.30pm BST or 1pm GMT on Fridays.

The simplest way to book is through our website on our Book Now page. Here you will be able to see our current opening times, and a short rundown of the services we offer. From here all you have to do is fill out our quick booking form and one of our team will be in touch shortly to arrange your appointment.

The other way to book is by calling us directly on 0800 781 0422. This number will take you right through to our receptionists who will be able to arrange the time and type of appointment you require there and then.

What to do before your appointment

For the vast majority of our appointments the patient has nothing to worry about before entering the clinic. We want to see and understand your hearing as it is in your everyday life, so making special arrangements beforehand could actually have an effect on our results.

The Q tip: the bane of any audiologists life

For the majority of our appointments all we ask is that the patient’s ears are clean, just like brushing your teeth before heading to the dentist. In some cases, and depending on the complaint we may suggest using special ear drops in the days leading up to the appointment, but this will all be explained to you and is never a cause for concern.

The big day

Your appointment will always start with an introduction to your audiologist. We are firm believers that the patient experience is just as important as the treatment itself and as such we always make sure that you are comfortable with the person poking around inside your ears.

A patient and an  audiologist having a discussion about hearing health

The first part of any audiologist’s assessment is understanding the circumstances around your hearing, so before we reach for any tools we take the time to get to know the patient, their lifestyle and the issues they may have been experiencing. This holistic approach speaks volumes about any potential hearing issues, and can give us a headstart in diagnosing any complaints you may have.

Visual Inspection

The next process we will carry out is a visual inspection of the outer ear, and down into the ear canal. This is normally done using a tool called an otoscope, which is used by your audiologist to illuminate the inner ear and use a magnifying lens to take a good look down the ear canal. While this may sound like an invasive procedure, it will in fact be familiar to most as the otoscope is one of the most recognisable pieces of audiology equipment.

An audiologist inspects an ear to see if earwax removal is required

The purpose of the visual inspection is to make sure that there are no obvious signs of conductive hearing loss (where the ear is blocked by a physical barrier). Something we often find on these inspections is a buildup of excess earwax blocking the ear canal. In other cases a deformity as a result of injury, or inflammation due to infection can also be identified. In the rarest of cases our audiologists could even be faced with a foreign object lodged within the ear canal itself!

Testing The Inner Ear

With the outer ear inspected we then move on to the inner ear, and the connection between it and the brain. Obviously we cannot see this connection, and so instead we rely on a series of tests that measure the brain’s auditory responsiveness. 

Our primary method is using a practice known as “pure tone audiometry”, or more commonly, the bleep test. This method of assessing hearing will be familiar to most adults and is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

The procedure begins with the patient being sat in a quiet space, or in our in-clinic soundproof cubicle, and being asked to don a set of powerful sound cancelling headphones. These headphones isolate the patient from any outside sounds, and gives us the best chance of assessing a patient’s hearing accurately. You will also be given a handpiece with a button on top, to be pressed when the test begins.

When the test commences you will be played a series of beeping sounds that range from high to low pitch, and move through the auditory spectrum. All you have to do is press the button in your hand when you hear each sound, and try not to doze off. It is very important not to “cheat” this test, by pressing the button when you think a sound should be playing, as this will give us an inaccurate picture of your hearing condition.

When the test is completed your results will be printed out on a special graph called an audiogram, which may seem insensible to the patient but actually contains a wealth of information for the audiologist.

Explaining the results of the tests

Here at Nathan Gluck Hearing Care we always strive to make sure that our patients fully understand the results of their tests not from a medical perspective, but how they are affected by them. We always offer jargon free and easily digestible information about the various strengths and shortcomings of a person’s hearing, and explain how they line up with any symptoms that may have been experienced.

Treating the problem

We always hope that a hearing test comes back and proclaims a clean bill of hearing health, but this is not always the case. One of the most common ailments by far is a blocked ear canal thanks to a buildup of earwax. Fortunately, the most common cause of hearing loss is also one of the quickest and simplest to rectify.

The process we use to remove unwelcome plugs of wax is called earwax microsuction, which is the safest and quickest method currently available today. Your audiologist can immediately put the gentle vacuum into action and remove the offending blockage, normally on the first attempt. In most cases microsuction requires no prior planning or preparation on the patient’s part, meaning we can deal with the issue right there in the appointment.

A selection of hearing aids

If there are any deeper concerns then the second most common treatment option is hearing aids. While many people shudder at the thought of them, remembering back to the old ugly devices that worked only half the time and often caused uncomfortable screeches of feedback, the modern hearing aids of today are actually more of a blessing than a curse.

Alongside the boom of mobile phone technology, hearing aids have become more technologically advanced than most people give them credit for, allowing them to slip seamlessly into the wearer’s everyday life. Rechargeable batteries, discreet aesthetics and connectivity with most smart devices means that wearers of the most up to date hearing aids are actually at an advantage compared to those of us with mere human hearing.

If hearing aids are required, your audiologist will use the results of the tests carried out and assessment of your lifestyle in order to make a recommendation that best suits you. The arrangements will then be made for hearing aid fitting, a date for you to receive your device and training on how best to put it to use.

After your appointment

With Nathan Gluck Hearing care the service doesn’t stop when you walk out of the door. We extend a friendly hand to all of our patients should they ever need us in the future. Have a question about your new hearing aid? Just give us a call. Feel like your hearing has degraded since your last visit? Just book in, and we’ll get your issue seen as soon as possible.

It is this level of personal service that truly sets us apart as an independent audiologist. We’re not a huge brand trying to squeeze you for money, we’re a family run business whose primary goal is making sure our patients get the best treatment and experience possible.

Book your hearing consultation today

Now that you’re familiar with what to expect from your appointment it’s time to get yourself booked in with us! Our North London audiologists are ready to see you for hearing consultations and earwax removal. Should you not be able to make it to our clinics we also offer home visit hearing appointments to various North London postcodes. You can learn more about if these are available to you here.
Book your appointment today and we’ll see you soon!