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About Audiology


Hearing Tests - Screening vs Diagnostic Tests

A hearing screening test is a good idea if you are not sure whether or not you are concerned about your hearing. If a problem is identified, it will be recommended that you go on to have a full diagnostic hearing test.

While screening tests are simple they are not thorough which can mean some hearing problems may be missed. If you have concerns about your hearing you should go on to have a full diagnostic hearing test, even if you have had a normal hearing screening test.

Screening tests:

  • May identify a hearing loss
  • May be performed in an environment that is not certified or sound-treated i.e GP clinic rooms, office
  • Testing will be brief (no more than 10 minutes) and at least four frequencies will be tested (usually 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, 4000 Hz)
  • May not be performed by an Audiologist/Audiometrist

Full diagnostic hearing tests:

  • Identify hearing loss and ascertain the nature of the hearing loss, whether it is permanent (sensorineural) or potentially treatable (conductive)
  • Can be used effectively for treatment e.g. with hearing aid rehabilitation or for consideration of surgery or medication
  • Are performed in a certified, soundtreated environment: a whole room or a sound-treated booth
  • Testing may take up to an hour to perform
  • There are five different tests in an initial diagnostic hearing assessment: air conduction, bone conduction, speech testing, tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing. They assess the function of the hearing pathway and some of the processing of sounds
  • They are performed by a qualified Audiologist/Audiometrist

For a full diagnostic hearing test always request to see a member of the New Zealand Audiological Society. These Audiologists and Audiometrists will have MNZAS or MNZAS (Audiometrist) after their name.

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