Hearing tests are employed to determine whether an individual is displaying signs of hearing loss and to detect changes since the previous appointment. Hearing tests are not pass or fail exams, and sometimes, the results are not clear cut. If you’ve recently had a hearing test, which you passed, but you struggle to hear in some scenarios or settings, you might be wondering what the results mean and whether anything can be done to improve your hearing. Seeing an audiologist can provide answers to your questions. 

Can you pass a hearing test but still have problems hearing?

If you have a hearing test booked, or you have questions or queries about a previous hearing assessment, it’s natural to wonder if you can pass a test and still have hearing problems. You might think that your hearing has declined, but the test results may still be relatively positive, for example. Hearing tests take various forms, and they are designed to determine how well you can hear in different situations, how you react to different pitches, volumes, tones and to detect variations from one ear to the other. In many cases, the results of a hearing test will show clear hearing loss, but in some cases, the findings may be less conclusive. You may find that the overall result is indicative of a pass, but there are issues that are always preventing you from hearing clearly, or your hearing may be much better in one ear than the other. 

Another factor that impacts the results of a hearing test is the underlying cause of hearing loss. While many people experience gradual hearing loss as a result of the natural aging process, some cases of temporary hearing loss are linked to treatable causes, a buildup of wax within the ear or an infection. In this case, your hearing may improve from one test to another once the cause has been addressed. 

What happens during and after a hearing test?

Hearing tests are carried out routinely and as a response to signs of hearing loss. We recommend regular hearing tests, as hearing loss can occur gradually. If you have frequent tests, signs of decline can be spotted and addressed early. Hearing tests are nothing to worry or be anxious about. You’ll simply be asked to respond to different noises and sounds, and your audiologist may also examine your ears. After your hearing assessment, your audiologist will analyze the findings and talk through them with you. 

It’s not possible to fail a hearing test as such. The hearing assessment will merely highlight problem areas and provide an insight into the degree of hearing loss. Even if your results are positive, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your hearing is perfect, and there may still be signs that your hearing is gradually getting worse if there has been a change since your last test. 

Once your audiologist has discussed the results of your hearing test with you, they will talk to you about potential treatment options, if treatment is required or recommended. In cases of temporary hearing loss, it may be possible to treat the cause, which should have a positive impact on your hearing. If your hearing is declining, and you’re starting to notice an effect on your day to day life, using hearing aids could make a dramatic difference. 

What causes hearing problems?

There are many factors that can contribute to hearing problems, and not all of them will result in permanent hearing loss. If you pass a hearing test, this may indicate that there is an underlying cause that is affecting your ability to hear. You might have an infection; tinnitus may be a contributing factor, or your ears may be producing too much wax. In this case, your results may be perfectly satisfactory, but you might not be hearing, and processing sounds as effectively as you normally do. If there is a temporary problem, this will be addressed as a priority, and your audiologist may recommend further tests in the future. In the case of long-term hearing loss, aging is the most common cause. Prolonged exposure to loud noises can also damage the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss.

Hearing tests are not designed to give you a pass or fail result, but some outcomes are more positive than others. If you have a hearing test coming up, or you’re confused about the results of a previous assessment, our friendly, experienced audiologists are here to answer questions, provide information, and offer advice. Call Desert Hearing Care today at (480) 374-1846 for more details.