Unit 7 / 337 Harewood Road, Bishopdale

Are you struggling to hear your loved ones? Or do you need a hearing test for work or medical reasons? Whatever your reason, we provide comprehensive hearing assessments at our Christchurch based clinic that can tell us so much about the health of your ears, as well as your overall health. 

We also provide Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hearing tests and workplace medical assessments – please contact us if you have multiple people and we can provide a discounted rate.

Appointments Available on Saturdays!

What's involved in a hearing test?

If you suspect any changes with your hearing, it’s important to get it checked out sooner rather than later. 

We offer two types of appointments – a basic screening test (air conduction) and a full diagnostic hearing assessment. A diagnostic hearing test is a comprehensive appointment where we assess your level of hearing at different frequencies in a sound-attenuated booth.

There are several main components to a full hearing test:

Air conduction

This is where we assess your softest hearing levels at various frequencies/pitches through soft foam inserts placed in your ear canals. This tells us the softest levels you are able to hear through your outer ear. The shape of the hearing loss may indicate a certain cause, e.g whether it is noise damage or a genetic hearing loss.

Bone conduction

We then place a small bone conductor behind the ear which vibrates those sounds directly into your inner ear – this tells us which part of the ear the hearing loss is coming from. It can tell us whether your hearing loss comes from your inner ear (and is permanent) or if there is a physical problem with your hearing, e.g an issue with the bones in your middle ear. This tells us whether you may need further referral to an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon to help with your hearing loss.

Speech audiometry

This is a test where you will repeat words back to us at loud, medium and soft levels depending on your initial results. This test can tell us if there may be any cognitive limitation as a result of the hearing loss, and whether hearing aids will be of good benefit.

For example, if you only get 50% of the words correct, it tells us that you may only get about half of the conversation (even with well-fitted hearing aids). This is more likely in severe hearing losses, which is why we try to fit hearing aids as early as possible, as they can prevent the loss becoming worse.

Tympanometry

This is a quick pressure-check which measures the movement of your eardrum. This can tell us if there is an issue with middle ear fluid (glue-ear), eustachian tube dysfunction, or occasionally sinus issues causing congestion.

We perform tympanometry in all our earwax removal appointments, too.

Speech-in-Noise Testing

Depending on the results and your concerns, we may perform extra tests such as a Speech-in-Noise test, which, if you perform more poorly than expected for your hearing levels, it may be a processing problem rather than a hearing problem, and we can refer you on for further assessment.

What else might a hearing test show?

A hearing test can also indicate other health issues, particularly if you are experiencing certain symptoms. Things we can find in clinic are:

  • Otosclerosis (fusion of middle ear bones)
  • Tympanic membrane perforation (a hole in the eardrum)
  • A cholesteatoma (a potentially dangerous growth of skin cells within the ear)
  • Sinus-related pathologies affecting the hearing system
  • A vestibular schwannoma (a growth/tumour on the auditory nerve).
Graph showing a real hearing test and their results
An example of a hearing test (from a real patient) showing a severe high-frequency hearing loss, mostly caused by occupational noise damage
Graph showing the results of a real hearing test
An example of a hearing test (from a real patient) showing a moderate to severe hearing loss in the right ear (red), and mostly normal hearing in the left ear (blue). This patient was diagnosed with a vestibular schwannoma shortly after we referred him for an urgent MRI after this assessment.
Bishopdale Hearing Clinic located in the Bishopdale Mall in Christchurch

Why should I get my hearing checked?

With any permanent (sensorineural) hearing loss, the earlier it is treated, the better your hearing health remains in the long run. The stronger your auditory system and cognition remains, the less likely it is to deteriorate (you use it or you lose it). This is why we always recommend hearing devices if there is any hearing loss, even mild. You will truly appreciate it in 10 years time.

There have also been recent studies showing a link between untreated hearing loss and onset of dementia. It is important to note that hearing loss alone does not cause dementia, however it has been named as one of the “modifiable risk factors” – meaning it is something we can reliably and easily improve.

A recent independent study (the ACHIEVE) study has been published, and shows that hearing intervention can reduce cognitive deterioration over 3 years for older adults who were at increased risk for cognitive decline. The full article can be accessed here

These studies are a great pathway to further our education around the link between hearing impairment and our overall health.

"Bradi was very friendly, cheerful, bright and most importantly very knowledgeable! She dewaxed my ears very gently and my ears feel brand new. Would highly recommend her and will be back for another dewax when needed."
Grieve Jardine