9 things you can do to change the results of a failed hearing test
9 things you can do to change the results of a failed hearing test

9 things you can do to change the results of a failed hearing test

Unlike many other physical tests, the ones that tell us about our hearing are usually the trickiest to gauge. Much of the inner working of our ears remains out of sight and out of mind. Often, a problem in this area does not immediately result in pain, making it even more difficult to know when something is wrong. Despite these challenges, hearing loss can have a profound effect on your life, but this depends on what is causing the hearing loss and if it can be treated. When people visit us at Ivory Hearing and fail their hearing test they automatically assume the worst. After years of experience in audiology (and years trying to dispel the myth that a failed hearing test means deafness for life), we know that there are many complex factors that could be contributing to a failed hearing test:

Impacted Earwax

This is the most common contributing factor to poor hearing in most Australians. Despite our audiologist’s best warnings, most people still use earbuds, which push the earwax further back into the ear canal than it should be. This causes it to pile up and block the ear when it should be left to naturally dissipate over time. Thankfully, all it takes is a simple over the counter treatment to stop it. Just remember to keep your ears a poke-free zone!

Loud Noises

Anything from a few hours at a raucous metal concert, lighting firecrackers or being near a plane taking off near you can leave your ears temporarily ‘ringing’ for up to 16 hours. This sudden hearing loss is caused by a temporary threshold shift and is painless. You should only be concerned if it lasts longer than a few days.

Certain Medications

Certain medications are considered oxytocic, which means that they impact hearing. This manifests in temporary tinnitus or vertigo. While every person reacts to medication differently, the most common culprits are antibiotics containing aminoglycosides, NSAIDS and loop diuretic medication. Prior to a hearing test, most ear specialists or audiologists will ask you if you are taking any of these.

Common Colds

Even the mildest form of a cold can impact your ear, nose, and throat area. This can, in turn, impact your hearing, due to the congestion you are experiencing. Ensure that you schedule any hearing test once you are fully recovered from infections in these areas and the congestion has had time to subside.

Glue Ear

Did you know that adults can get Glue Ear? This common childhood ailment where fluid builds up in the ear afflicts up to 80 percent of children before their tenth birthday. Many people are unaware that Glue Ear can and does afflict adults as well! Thankfully, it tends to work itself out, which can happen within three months. Doctors recommend that dairy products be avoided during this time. Should this not fix things, a minor grommet insertion operation will drain the fluid by inserting a small tube in the eardrum to equalise pressure and reduce discomfort.

Faulty equipment

While not a common culprit, faulty equipment has been known to skew the results of a hearing test for patients. Like all machines, audiometers and headphones can break down and need replacement. If you suspect that this might be the cause, you are well within your rights to ask your audiologist how old the equipment is and when it was last tested.

Test Environment

Many workforces in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth institute Wellness Days, where staff members can check their weight, blood pressure and more with specialists visiting the workplace. For most people, it can be nerve-wracking to share intimate details with co-workers in a room with strange equipment. After all, many of us conceal our weight and health issues from those closest to us. In such an environment, it’s tempting to lie about what you hear to get the process over and done with. If your workplace is planning a Wellness Day, make sure that you can get tested individually and privately and that the information will remain confidential. Alternatively, you can schedule your own test after hours with your GP.

Physical Trauma

Have you recently experienced a bumper bashing or even tripped over the dog? Research has shown that even a minor trauma to the body – not just the head – can temporarily cause inner ear vascular damage, which is responsible for temporarily impaired hearing. Remember that in your average bumper bashing your head accelerates at 8.2 Gs, which is higher than that experienced by Apollo 16 when it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere!

Learning Difficulties

Research shows that symptoms of undiagnosed ADHD or Autism can be mistaken for poor hearing or hearing loss. This is especially common amongst the older generations, many of whom came of age before these conditions were public knowledge and part and parcel of childhood medical evaluations. Adults with these conditions will have a history of not responding to stimuli the way that others do, and will be known fidget and show distracted and forgetful behaviour, giving off the impression that they cannot hear you properly.

A hearing test can mean many things. This is why instead of relying on an online hearing test and frantically googling hearing aids online, you should leave the testing (and the interpretation of its results) up to the experts!

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  • I can’t remember the last time I had my hearing checked and I think I should have it done as with my job, I’m exposed to loud noises for a decent amount of time during the day. If I do decide to go get my ears checked out, I’ll have to refrain from exposing myself to loud noises for at least a day before, as you did mention. That way, I can be sure that the test results will be accurate and not have the potential for failure.

    Caden Dahl

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