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A Guide to Adult Hearing Tests in NZ: Here’s What You Need To Know

Ever find yourself asking loved ones to repeat themselves? Maybe the TV volume seems lower than usual, or you struggle to follow conversations in crowded restaurants. These could be signs of hearing loss, a surprisingly common condition affecting many adults in NZ.


Audiologist at Family Hearing Centre Epsom Auckland conducting a hearing test

Hearing loss can sneak up on you gradually, and you might not even realise it's happening at first. But the good news is that there's no need to miss out on the sounds of life! Getting a comprehensive hearing assessment in NZ can give you a clear picture of your ear health and hearing ability.


This blog will guide you through what to expect during a typical adult hearing assessment in NZ, with a special focus on the in-depth approach offered at our independent Audiology clinic at Family Hearing Centre. We believe understanding your hearing is key to finding solutions and getting you back to enjoying clear, comfortable listening.


What is involved in a standard hearing assessment for adults?


A standard hearing assessment in New Zealand aims to assess the hearing and overall health of the ears. This involves:


  • History –  Exploring Your Auditory Journey: Discussing your hearing concerns and ear-related history.


  • Otoscopy – A look inside the ear canal to assess the health of the canal and ear drum. 


  • Pure Tone Audiometry – Measures the extent of hearing loss across a range of frequencies and advises whether the hearing loss is temporary, permanent or mixed. This requires the press of a button when a sound is heard. 


  • Speech Audiometry – Measures the ability to discriminate speech sounds at different volumes. This advises whether amplification is required or whether there has been any deterioration in the ability to hear clearly.


  • Immittance Audiometry – Measures how well the ear drum is moving and the health of the middle ear space. Some clinics may also complete acoustic reflex testing which assesses a nerve reflex response to loud sounds resulting in the contraction of a muscle in the middle ear.

  • Hearing Test Discussion – Explanation of the hearing test results with reference to your hearing history and recommendation of the next steps.



Hearing Test discussion at Family Hearing Centre Auckland

How are hearing assessments provided at Family Hearing Centre different?


At Family Hearing Centre in Auckland, we routinely complete all components of the standard hearing assessment explained above.

Additionally, we carry out hearing-in-noise testing*. This hearing assessment tests the ability to hear speech clearly in the presence of competing noise. This hearing test involves repeating a series of sentences in the presence of background noise at different volumes.


The most commonly reported hearing difficulty is the ability to follow conversations in noisy environments. Typically, listeners will find that restaurants and crowded places make it harder to understand what is being said. Following years of clinical practice, we understand that relying on hearing assessments in quiet alone cannot tell us the full picture on how someone is hearing.


When hearing-in-noise assessments are not carried out, there is typically an assumption that one can hear clearly in noise at normal or near normal abilities. This can miss a hearing-in-noise difficulty and result in hearing outcomes that are poorer than expected. By completing this type of hearing test at our Auckland clinic, we ensure that our recommendations lead to the most optimal hearing outcomes for you.


*where clinically appropriate; not suitable where English is a second language or when an alternative test battery is requested to the standard.



Audiologist at Family Hearing performing a hearing test in Auckland


What are the benefits of Hearing-in-Noise Testing that hearing tests at Family Hearing Centre provide?


Apart from more closely reflecting someone’s ability to hear in everyday listening situations, there are many reasons to assessing and understanding hearing-in-noise ability. These hearing test results can validate a listening difficulty that may not be picked up by the standard hearing assessments carried out in quiet environments (hidden hearing loss). It can help us help you better understand how you are hearing. 


Some of the additional benefits of hearing-in-noise testing are:


  • Indicates the benefit someone may expect from hearing aid amplification. If there is significant hearing-in-noise difficulties, particularly when compared to hearing-in-quiet results, there may be limitations in benefit received from hearing aids. Although hearing aids may still be helpful, a better listening outcome may be achieved when paired with additional assistive technology. For hearing profiles where one ear is significantly worse than the other (asymmetric hearing loss), this hearing test can advise whether someone would benefit from a single or pair of hearing aids.


  • Indicates what type of hearing aid technology would be most suitable for your hearing loss. If there is a significant hearing-in-noise difficulty, hearing aids with more advanced technology to ‘clean up the noise’ and help focus on the conversations may be recommended. For hearing-impaired people with normal or near-normal hearing-in-noise abilities, such advanced technology may not necessarily be required.


  • Guides us in fitting your chosen hearing aids to achieve better listening outcomes. Setting up specific features and programmes in your hearing aids can help optimise hearing in noise if you have poorer hearing-in-noise abilities. The customisation of your hearing aid fitting and rehabilitation can be guided by speech-in-noise test results. This can result in better outcomes with your hearing aids.


Learn more about our hearing tests in Auckland at Family Hearing Centre. 

Considering Hearing Aids?  We understand that hearing loss can impact your quality of life. If you're wondering if hearing aids might be right for you, learn about our hearing aids in Auckland, and the solutions we offer at our Audiology clinic in Auckland.

Do you have a child suffering from listening and hearing difficulties? We offer Auditory Processing Disorder testing. Phone our clinic on 09 217 6944 for more information.

We look forward to seeing you at our Audiology clinic soon. Book a Hearing Test appointment online today.






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