How To Get A Hearing Test At Home For Your Elderly Parents
Have you noticed a difference in your parent’s hearing? I know I have recently (but my dad wouldn’t agree!). Approximately 8 million older adults in the UK are affected by hearing loss, but it still takes on average seven years from realising there’s a problem to taking action. The good news is that it’s easier than ever to expertly investigate with a free hearing test at home, so we spoke with Hearing Direct to find out more.
Written in collaboration with Hearing Direct
Age related hearing loss is caused by a deterioration in the auditory system over time.
This gradual process can sneak up, so it can be difficult to get our elderly parents to start acknowledging and talking about hearing problems.
They often adapt their lifestyle to live with it – turning the volume up high on the TV, talking loudly in close range or putting the phone on speaker to maximise the sound for example.
Even if they recognise that their hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, the thought of needing a hearing aid is often an admission that they’re getting older, and this can be the biggest blocker to getting their hearing tested.
Even someone with mild hearing loss can really benefit from a hearing aid. Wearing a hearing aid isn’t the same as putting on a pair of glasses – your hearing won’t suddenly be perfect.
Instead, a hearing aid will help your parent hear better. And getting a hearing test is the best way to start this process.
Once your parent has come on board with getting a hearing check (also known as an audiogram), there are a few ways you can go about it.
Online Hearing Test
A free home hearing test is a great starting point for someone who is struggling with their hearing (either all the time or just in certain situations).
These online hearing tests show just how amazing technology is – in five minutes your parent can get a good gauge on their hearing impairment in each ear and how a hearing aid could improve it.
The results from this non invasive procedure (it’s literally just a case of your parent sitting in front of the computer) give an accurate picture of hearing loss and are close to what an actual calibrated audiogram would show.
How Does An Online Hearing Test Work?
This free hearing check is finding out:
- Is there hearing loss, and if so to what degree?
- Where on the frequency range someone is having the most hearing difficulty
The test is split into two sections. In the first part, your parent is asked a series of questions with multiple choice answers such as “Do you find it hard to have a conversation in a noisy environment” and “Who do you have most trouble hearing – men, women or children?”.
This is followed by the hearing check where they listen to audio with headphones (over ear vs in ear headphones are preferred but it’s not vital). Sounds of different volumes will be played and they record what they hear.
And the results are instant. Your parent’s answers to the questions help Hearing Direct understand where they struggle with hearing the most.
The at home hearing test then gives a more specific assessment, indicating hearing loss level in both ears, what sounds you’re likely missing, and how your hearing could improve with a device.
What Should You Do With The Results Of An Online Hearing Test?
Your mum or dad has taken the first step of having a hearing test at home and the results show some hearing loss. So what should you do now?
Buy Hearing Aids Online
I know someone who recently spent thousands on her recent hearing aids. It seems that we don’t really know what we should be paying for hearing aids, but what I can tell you is that splashing the cash doesn’t equal quality.
Some of the best hearing aids on the market can be found cheaper online (and with a 30-day trial guarantee). Read our guide on the different types of hearing aids here.
Book A Hearing Consultation
Sometimes it’s good to speak with an expert before making a big decision about hearing aids.
That’s why Hearing Direct offer a free 20 minute consultation with an audiologist which your parent can book after their home hearing test (or before if they prefer to speak with someone straightaway to alleviate any concerns). Just call 0800 161 5044 to speak with them.
The commitment of booking this conversation is a big step in itself, and shows your parent is recognising their hearing impairment.
This call is their chance to freely ask the audiologist any questions and concerns they have about hearing – they can discuss their results, questions about the best hearing aids or whether they should see their GP.
Having this one-to-one time with an audiologist is a great idea because what you see on an audiogram doesn’t necessarily translate to someone’s day-to-day hearing difficulties.
An individual who’s socially active may be struggling with a mild hearing impairment as having to ask people to repeat things can be distressing. On the other hand, someone who is more hearing impaired but doesn’t spend as much time in a noisy environment doesn’t have such demanding listening needs.
The audiologist will get an understanding of your parent’s lifestyle and offer a bespoke hearing solution.
The audiologists speak slowly and slow their rate of speech down considerably so people can hear them on the other end of the phone. But if your parent really struggles to hear using a phone then they can email the audiology team directly instead.
Face To Face Hearing Assessment
Some people prefer to have in-person hearing tests, or are referred for one by their GP. The audiologist will run a test to get an accurate picture of your parent’s hearing and see if wax is getting in the way (wax build up becomes more prolific as we age and microsuction wax removal can really help here).
Depending on the style of hearing test is really up to your elderly parent’s preference.
If they’re happy to take one online, or find the convenience of a home hearing test better, then this is the route for them. Some people want that more personal touch with a face-to-face appointment.
Based on the audiogram results, your parent may be recommended hearing aids. Shop around and remember to look online too to find the right hearing aids at the right price for you.
NHS Hearing Test
If your parent wants an NHS hearing aid, then they need to be referred for a hearing assessment by their GP. The wait time could be anything from six weeks to three months for an audiogram.
Depending on the results, they could be offered a free NHS hearing aid – this will be the model which is supplied to their specific hospital or trust, so they won’t get a choice of style.
It is possible for your parent to have their hearing test on the NHS, and then buy a hearing aid privately. If they’re confused by the types of hearing aids available, they can always book a free consultation with the Hearing Direct audiology team.
All they’d need to do is email their audiogram results through when booking and the audiologist will talk them through the best hearing aids for them.
Hearing loss is a natural sign of ageing, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for our parents to come to terms with. They can alter their daily living habits to accommodate this hearing impairment – going out less, or only speaking on speakerphone.
They don’t have to live with this though as a quick and free online hearing test at home can pinpoint the problem and help them understand next steps. If you and your elderly parents are going through this currently, good luck.
Go to www.hearingdirect.com to check your hearing today.