Audiometry for people with hearing aids or deaf

What is ‘deaf’?

The phrase ‘deaf’ when used in everyday language covers a huge range of hearing abilities, going from people who are a bit weak for their age through to people with no hearing at all. It is VERY common, and something which happens a few times every week in the people we are testing, that someone comes into the audiometry unit and says they are ‘deaf’ but then when tested their hearing is not that bad at all, just not quite as good as it should be for their age.

Who sold them the hearing aid..?

This is not helped by a trend we see more and more often where people come in for an audiometric test who say they are ‘deaf’ and have hearing aids, but when we do the test they are perfectly fine. Sure, their hearing is not what it was when they were 18, but they’re 48 now and it’s not supposed to be the same as when they were 18. When questioned about who said they were deaf it inevitably turns out that they were worried about their hearing, went for a private hearing test, and then the lovely helpful people doing the test said they do have some losses but this £400 hearing aid will sort them out. Funny how in these cases the people doing the hearing test and saying they have a problem are so often the same ones who have sold them the hearing aid…

Deafness and noise exposure

It is important to understand therefore that most deaf people can usually still hear something, and that reduced element of hearing is what the hearing aid is amplifying for them. In a lot of cases that remaining hearing can still be impacted by excess noise and many forms of deafness can still be made worse by excessive noise exposure.

It is usually more important these people are included in the audiometric screening than people classed as ‘normal’ as a small further reduction in hearing may have the potential to make a large impact on their life, both at work and at home.

Summary

People with hearing aids or who identify as ‘deaf’ should be included in the audiometric testing programme.

They will be asked to remove their hearing aid for the test itself otherwise the test will be measuring the performance of the hearing aid rather than their hearing.