Comprehensive Diagnostics

Diagnostic Hearing Test in Perth

We offer 4 different types of hearing tests in Perth. You can come and visit us at one of our Perth hearing clinics for either a free hearing test (screening) or a diagnostic hearing test for which we charge $120. A report is sent to your doctor as required.

You can also have a hearing test at home. Take our quick online hearing test or contact us to order the At-Home Hearing Test Kit. We express mail you the equipment and upon receiving it we can remotely connect in and guide you through the hearing test procedure.

What is a diagnostic hearing test?

A full diagnostic hearing test consists of a battery or group of tests where the combination of results gives sufficient information to help diagnose your ear health and nature of your hearing loss.  It also shows your ability to understand speech in quiet and in competing noise. It can show whether hearing aid amplification will be of any benefit at all.

Feel Educated About Your Hearing & Ear Health

We believe it’s only fair and ethical to give you the full picture about your hearing health and rehabilitation options. Our educational approach of sharing the hearing test results in a clear and understandable way forms part of this process.

Being independent of the hearing aid manufacturers empowers us to provide you with an unbiased view of your rehabilitation options.

Price of our diagnostic hearing test

We schedule a 90minute appointment for a diagnostic hearing test to provide adequate time to be thorough. It gives us enough time to discuss and demonstrate hearing aid options if they are indicated. If you are self-funded we charge $120 for this full diagnostic hearing test and hope you can see that it is excellent value. It should be considered a baseline for a hearing rehabilitation program. The industry average price of a hearing test is around $140 and for Pensioner hearing tests and for veterans the Office of Hearing Services will pay $145.48 for delivering this service.

Composition of a diagnostic hearing test

Why we test more frequencies:

Most companies openly limit the thresholds they test to just 9 frequencies that range from 250Hz to 8000Hz. At Harmony Hearing we understand that speech has higher frequency harmonics above 8000Hz that can provide additional cues for separating speech from competing noise and to help localise where sounds are coming from.

We also understand that the most common type of hearing loss, age related hearing loss usually starts in the higher frequencies and gradually moves to lower frequency ranges.

Some quality hearing aids now have a wider bandwidth up to 10,000Hz and even 12,000Hz which enables better access to these higher frequency speech cues.

These are some of the reasons we believe it’s important to test into these higher frequency ranges. We also test at more frequency intervals than most as it gives us more of an accurate Audiogram. Then when if it comes to programming your hearing aids we have more thresholds to work with to more to accurately shape the amplification across the frequency range to you hearing levels. We routinely include in our test range from low to high: 250Hz, 500Hz, 750Hz, 1000Hz, 1500Hz, 2000Hz, 3000Hz, 4000Hz, 6000Hz, 8000Hz, 9000Hz and 10,000 Hz.

The audiogram shows the ranges of normal hearing and the respective levels of hearing loss. Also shown is the relative pitch and volume across the frequency range. You can see the shaded area where these sounds are located is shaped a bit like a banana. It is given the name the Speech Banana. This person has a severe to profound bilateral hearing loss and wouldn’t be able to hear any speech sounds at average conversational levels. The above example only shows air conduction thresholds to 8000Hz.

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Understanding Speech

For people living with hearing loss understanding speech especially when there’s competing noise is the holy grail. Speech sounds vary markedly in their frequency and intensity. Some of the low frequency speech sounds include ‘m’ and ‘u’ whilst others are very high in frequency such as ‘s’ and ‘t’.  It’s true that many of the speech sounds produced by an adult male are of lower frequency then those produced by a female or chid.

In a study by Boothroyd and Medwetsky (1992) they found that the average ‘s’ sound produced by a male adult is approximately 4300 Hz and 7200 Hz for female adults. For some females where there’s a neighbouring vowel sound such as an ‘ee’ the frequency of the ‘s’ sound was found to be as high as 8900Hz. This illustrates the importance of hearing those higher frequencies.

Hearing Aids Demonstrations

Part of this thorough hearing test can be to discuss hearing aid options and demonstrate in the clinic how they can sound and feel. We show you the styles they come in, discuss your preferences and consider your cosmetic concerns. We can then program and configure them to your hearing levels and put them on for an initial impression as to how they can sound and feel in the clinic. Most people are pleasantly surprised at the immediate improvement they notice in terms of improved clarity of speech and reduced listening effort.

Reporting to Your Doctor (As required)

If your test results indicate that there is some underlying ear or health condition that should be investigated we will forward the test results and a written report letter describing the results and indicating why further investigation is likely required. This is done in a timely manner within 3 days of completing the testing. This may often be a necessary first step that should be cleared before hearing aids are fitted, although sometimes this can occur as a parallel process.

 

Why is a diagnostic hearing test so important?

Audiology is considered a para-medical field where we are required to work in alliance with your other health care providers. We follow best practice protocol in all our hearing tests.

If there are any red flags that appear as a result of completing your battery of hearing tests our Audiologists will advise you as to whether referral to your G.P. is recommended and whether your G.P. is likely to refer you to see an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT or Otolaryngologist).

There can be numerous reasons the test results may require further investigation. For example; An unexplained sensori-neural asymmetrical hearing loss can be due to an acoustic neuroma (a slow growing tumour) on the Auditory nerve. Or there may be a fungal infection in the external ear canal. If such conditions are not picked up and referred on for appropriate treatment there can be a whole host of longer term consequences to your ear health, hearing and overall health.

 

Following best practice protocol

Any good Audiologist that follows best practice protocol will know what indicators warrant further investigation. For example, an unexplained sensori-neural asymmetry of 10dB HL at two adjacent frequencies or 15dB at one frequency is enough to trigger the need for Specialist investigation. Especially in the presence of other symptoms such as tinnitus or vertigo.

Over the last 15 years of practice I’ve referred numerous clients for medical investigation on the basis of an unexplained asymmetry and at least three had MRI scans that found acoustic neuromas present. I recall correspondence from Professor Atlas a renowned E.N.T Specialist in Perth informing me that my referral had helped them detect a very small acoustic neuroma in a gentleman that they would be monitoring moving forward.

Unfortunately, the hearing health care industry is relatively unregulated and has become corporatized and competitively sales driven. The focus has shifted from health to the provision of products as the solution. At Harmony Hearing we maintain a health first approach.