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Woman having a hearing test.

Woman having a hearing test.
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Hearing test

2-minute read

If you have hearing loss, or think your hearing may be damaged, you can arrange to have a hearing test.

To arrange hearing tests, you can ask your doctor to refer you to an audiologist, who is trained to test your hearing and measure the severity of any hearing loss.

Who needs a hearing test?

You may need a hearing test if you think there might be problems. For example, you might have hearing problems if you can only understand people if they face you or if you find it hard to understand people talking in noisy places.

If you’re concerned about a child's hearing, they might need a hearing test if they’re slow to speak, struggling at school or have the TV up too loud.

If you’re not sure whether you're suffering from hearing loss, you can do an online test. Online tests are a guide only - if you have any doubt, see an audiologist or your doctor.

Types of hearing tests

There are several tests an audiologist can use to check an adult’s hearing, including:

  • pure tone audiometry, which tests how loud different sounds need to be for you to hear them
  • air conduction, which measures whether you can hear different tones played through headphones
  • bone conduction, which measures how well your cochlea picks up vibrations
  • tympanometry, which isn’t a hearing test, but a check of your eardrum

The results of these tests are marked on a graph called an audiogram. Your audiologist can talk to you about whether or not you have a problem, what type of problem it is and whether it is severe or not.

Children have different tests. Some are physical tests, while others rely on the child’s response. The audiologist will choose from a range of tests, and pick those that are best for the age of the child.

How much does a hearing test cost?

The Australian Government Hearing Services Program provides eligible people with access to a wide range of high quality fully subsidised hearing services and devices. Anyone can check their eligibility for the program by visiting Some hearing clinics also offer free 15 minute hearing checks.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2020

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