Why Risk the Free Hearing Test?

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Why the Free Hearing Test
Be weary of the lure of the Free Hearing Test

Why they market a Free Hearing Test?

Why risk your precious time, health and money for a free hearing test? Many hearing companies across Australia offer what they call a “free hearing test” and you really have to wonder what their motivation is. How do these companies make up for giving away their professional services for free? Can you guess? Yes, It is though their hearing aid sales. So you have to wonder where their priorities and focus lies. Do you think it’s legitimately on your unique ear and hearing health or on dispensing as many hearing aids as possible!

You’ve probably heard the saying “there’s no such thing s a free lunch.” The free hearing test to lure you in, is typically just a hearing screening check of your hearing levels. This can indicate your need for hearing aids. It doesn’t usually go into adequate detail or depth to diagnose the nature of your hearing loss, whether there are underling health concerns that need to be investigated or whether medical intervention could be of benefit. The main motive of offering you the Free Hearing Test is really just to move you into buying hearing aids. There’s the harsh commercial truth. How many other types of professionals do you know give away their services for free? Does your Dentist, Doctor, Physiotherapist, Lawyer or Accountant give their professional time and use of their specialised equipment away for free? If they are any good at what they do, I doubt it!

A Free Hearing Screen

In providing a comprehensive service we offer a free hearing screening. It consists of a look in the ears with an Otoscope and a basic 4 frequency hearing check a 500Hz, 1000Hz, 2000Hz and 4000Hz under headphones (Pure tone Audiometry). It’ll show if there’s some hearing loss and is really just an indicator that further testing (i.e. a more In-Depth Hearing test) is required. In no way should anyone attempt to pass this off or market a basic hearing screening as an adequate “hearing test.” but sadly this does occur in a relatively unregulated industry. This would be not only misleading, unethical but even potentially dangerous if underlying health issues that need to be addressed are overlooked.

Hearing and Ear Health First!

Harmony Hearing has a strictly health first approach and our University trained Audiologists advocate an in-depth or diagnostic hearing test first and foremost if you have ear health or hearing loss concerns. The reason this is important is that a full battery of hearing tests helps diagnose the nature of the hearing loss. Whether it is purely an inner ear nerve related hearing loss we call a Sensor-Neural Hearing Loss or whether it is more of a Conductive Hearing loss where sound doesn’t move efficiently through the ear drum and middle ear system or a combination of the two we term a Mixed Hearing Loss.

We look very closely at the combination of results from the battery of hearing tests to determine whether further medical investigation is necessary and even to indicate whether it is likely that medical intervention could help improve the hearing or ear health. For example a sudden unexplained substantial hearing loss should be treated as a medical emergency with protocols that should be followed very quickly to help restore the hearing through medical means.

Another example is if there is a substantial unexplained asymmetry between the hearing levels of the ears that Ear Nose and Throat Specialist (Otolaryngologist) investigation should be sought to rule out any retro cochlear pathology such as an acoustic neuroma. A thorough hearing test not only helps diagnose the nature of the hearing loss and identifies any underlying ear health conditions it also helps show whether hearing aids are likely to be of any benefit at all.

Speech Discrimination in Noise Tests (SPIN)

It is essential to include in any quality hearing test battery Speech in Noise Discrimination tests. We routinely include these tests to help indicate your performance to follow speech sounds, words and sentences in quiet as well as different levels of competing background noise. This helps indicate the level of benefit you are likely to attain from hearing aids. we’ll usually perform these types of hearing tests unaided and then aided and compare your speech discrimination scores to see how much improvement in speech understanding or discrimination you have when correctly aided. Effective speech discrimination testing is rarely part of a free hearing test.

Feel Educated About Your Hearing & Ear Health

Our In-depth or diagnostic tests are second to none. You’ll feel educated and informed of your hearing test results. We show you your Audiogram (Graph of your test results) in a clear and understandable manner that makes sense. We will provide unbiased advice as to your best hearing loss treatment options and whether it is advisable to seek any additional medical investigation. If hearing aids are recommended we will guide you in an unbiased manner at to what leading brand new models, styles and technology levels will attain best outcomes for your unique needs and preferences.

In Depth Hearing Test Investment

For our in-depth hearing test we schedule about an hour and a half (90 minutes) and charge $120. This gives us adequate time to conduct a thorough ear and health history, learn about your unique communication and lifestyle needs as well as documents some communication goals. That way if we plan a course of remedial action we have the goals to look back on and gauge your levels of improvement. We could consider it communication goal setting. 90 minutes also affords us enough time to discuss hearing aid options should your hearing test results clearly indicate they could be of benefit. A free hearing test is often very prescriptive in nature and rarely takes the time to find out about your unique lifestyle communication needs and preferences. You may be simply told based on your hearing test (Audiogram) you need this hearing aid product. For more information on our In-Depth hearing tests please see: https://harmonyhearing.com.au/our-services/hearing-tests/

Hearing Aids Demonstrations

Part of this thorough hearing test can be to discuss hearing aid options an d 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 the 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.

At the end of the day an in-depth hearing test that diagnoses the nature of your hearing loss, ear health and general health should be considered a base line. The record of these results can then be compared with subsequent tests to show if there’s change going on and to understand the rate of change. After all hearing loss is very common and part of the human condition. It is only natural that most people will experience some hearing loss or ear health concerns at various stages of life. There is saying we advocate that “hearing care is a journey and we are with you all the way.”

For a great resource about the components of an in-depth hearing test battery please see the Victoria Governments better Health Channel at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hearing-tests

If you have any concerns with your ear health or hearing we encourage you to call us to book and appointment right away for our In-Depth hearing test and skip the Free Hearing Test offered by most larger companies. We are looking forward to helping you or a loved one attain the best possible ear, hearing and communication outcomes. Call 1800 020 406 or email: info@harmonyhearing.com.au

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