Where can I go to check my hearing?
Getting a hearing test is the best way to confirm if a hearing loss exists. A hearing test is also useful to help your doctor medically manage the cause of your hearing loss and will be useful for a hearing healthcare clinician to guide you on what options may be relevant to you.
Oftentimes people start by consulting with their GP, and then the GP might refer that person to an audiologist or audiometrist for a comprehensive assessment of their hearing. However, you don’t need a GP referral to make an appointment with either an audiologist or an audiometrist.
What is an audiologist?
Audiologists are allied health professionals who work with people of all ages – from infants to older adults. They work with people with complex needs to preserve, manage and improve their hearing. Audiologists also work with people who need to improve their ability to process and understand sounds, and improve their balance. They can assess hearing and functions associated with hearing, such as the nerve function and sound processing function. They can also assess other conditions related to ear problems such as vestibular (balance) function and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). They do these assessments by performing tests. Audiologists provide rehabilitation as well as communication training, counselling and the prescription and fitting of devices. Audiologists have the equivalent of an Australian University Master’s Degree in Clinical Audiology. Full membership with Audiology Australia and certification as an Audiology Australia Accredited Audiologist ensures that your audiologist is bound by a Code of Conduct and committed to ongoing professional development requirements. You can find a trusted audiologist in an area near you by visiting: audiology.asn.au
What is an audiometrist?
Audiometrists in Australia primarily work with adult clients (including older adults) and provide a range of services to school-aged children. They focus on hearing and auditory (hearing) function assessment. They also provide rehabilitation by applying a range of diagnostic tests and approaches. These approaches include counselling and the prescription and fitting of non-implantable devices. Audiometrists may also provide rehabilitation for tinnitus using education and hearing devices. They have a Diploma in Audiometry or a Bachelor of Audiometry Degree from an Australian University or international equivalent, ordinary membership with the Australian College of Audiology with competency in hearing aid dispensary and/or full membership with the Hearing Aid Audiology Society of Australia.
How do I find an audiologist/audiometrist?
You may access these professionals in a range of settings including public or private hospitals and community health centres or in private clinics. To find a service you could ask your GP, or read the online reviews for the selected clinic or audiologist to see if they receive good feedback from clients. Word of mouth is also another way to confidently find someone you trust.
See our fact sheet called ‘Tips for choosing a hearing healthcare clinician (audiologist/audiometrist)’ for tips and questions to ask prospective service providers.
Costs for hearing assessments vary, and in some cases may be covered by Medicare, be bundled into the cost of a hearing aid fitting, or require out of pocket fees. Some clinics offer free hearing tests – it is worth asking at the time of making your appointment. See our resource called ‘What funding support am I eligible for?’ for more information.