Audiology services and hearing tests

If you’ve been affected by hearing loss, our range of hearing and audiology tests can assess and diagnose hearing issues and help you to manage your condition.

I have a question about audiology tests

What is audiology?

Audiology is a branch of healthcare that studies hearing and balance. Audiologists help prevent hearing loss by educating people about the effects of loud noise and providing a range of different audiology tests. They may also be able to treat anyone who already has issues with their hearing.

What are the common signs of hearing loss?

According to Hearing Link, one in six people in the UK is affected by hearing loss, so maintaining good hearing health should form an important part of your lifestyle.

You may have hearing loss if you:

  • Have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said
  • Find yourself turning the TV up louder than others want it
  • Find it hard to follow conversations, especially if there’s background noise
  • Struggle to hear on the phone
  • Find that others complain that you aren’t listening to them
  • Feel that other people mumble
  • Hear sounds like ringing or whistling inside your head or ears. This could be tinnitus, which is often, but not always, linked to hearing loss

Hearing loss can occur in one or both ears and can happen gradually, so you may not notice it at first.

What causes hearing loss?

There are two main types of hearing loss and it’s possible to suffer from both (known as mixed hearing loss).

Sensorineural hearing loss

This is caused by damage to the hair cells inside the inner ear, or damage to the hearing nerve, or both. You’ll find it more difficult to hear sounds and sound quality will be poor. This is permanent but can often be treated with hearing aids.

Conductive hearing loss

This is caused when sound is prevented from passing from your outer ear to your inner ear by a blockage such as ear wax. Sounds may become muffled and quieter. It can be a temporary or permanent condition.

Both types of hearing loss can result from:

  • Age-related hearing loss: also known as presbycusis, age-related damage to the inner ear is the single biggest cause of hearing loss. As we get older, most of us will experience some level of hearing loss
  • Noise-induced hearing loss: this is the second biggest cause of hearing loss
  • Sudden hearing loss: affecting one or both ears, this can happen instantly or over a few weeks. You may also have tinnitus or problems with balance
  • Genetic hearing loss and deafness: some types of deafness can be inherited, and genetic information could help identify the cause of your condition
  • Ototoxic drugs and hearing loss: certain drugs can cause damage to the inner ear resulting in hearing loss, balance problems or tinnitus
  • Acoustic neuroma: a rare, slow-growing benign (non-cancerous) but treatable tumour, pressing on the hearing and balance nerves
  • Meniere’s disease: a condition of the inner ear that causes sudden attacks of:
    • Feeling like the room is spinning around you (vertigo)
    • A ringing noise inside the ear (tinnitus)
    • Pressure felt deep inside the ear
    • Hearing loss
What types of audiology ear tests does Benenden Hospital offer?

The best way to find out if you have hearing loss is to arrange a hearing test in Kent, at our audiology clinic. Our Audiology department carries out a range of hearing and audiology tests, assessing hearing and balance function to produce diagnostic reports and make recommendations for treatment. They work closely with our ENT Consultants to ensure you receive prompt care and advice on managing conditions such as tinnitus and dizziness or ear wax build up.

Tympanograms

A small probe is placed in your ear to spot or rule out fluid in your middle ear, a middle ear infection, a perforated eardrum or Eustachian Tube Dysfunction.

The device records how your eardrum moves in response to the air pressure in the ear canal. When the eardrum is activated by a sound wave, part of the sound is absorbed and sent through the middle ear, while the other part of the sound wave is reflected.

Tympanometry isn’t uncomfortable and shouldn’t cause any pain. You might notice the change in air pressure in your ear, but it’s very similar to the changes in cabin pressure that you’d experience on a plane.

Pure tone audiometry (hearing test)

This is carried out in a soundproof room. You’ll listen to different sounds through headphones and be asked to respond each time you hear something.

Speech perception test

As with the hearing test, this is carried out in a sound-proof room with headphones, but you’ll respond to speech rather than sounds. Contact us to find out more about our hearing tests in Kent.

How much does private audiology cost?

Find out the cost of an audiology test or examination from the audiology section of our pricing page. For more information, or to book your ear test, ask your GP to refer you or contact our Private Patient Team by completing our online form or by calling 01580 363158

Contact us

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.