My hearing test visit in Upminster
As I made my way to Upminster to have my ears tested, blasting out Metallica and Violent Asylum on my headphones, I have to admit that taking care of my hearing wasn’t high on the list of priorities.
I did think the trip might be a bit of a daunting experience, like going to the dentist.
At Click Hearing, on Corbets Tey Road, I met audiologist Ben Mann who showed me around the simple to use, but state of the art, technology at the centre which tests different aspects of peoples’ hearing.
I first took a seven minute beep test on an i-Pad, pressing the screen every time I heard a noise minutes, which is available for use for free by anyone who drops in at the centre.
To my surprise it showed that I had significant hearing loss at some frequencies in my right ear which, on inspection, Ben said may just have been due to the fact that my ears needed to be cleaned.
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But it was a short, easy-to-do check-up which made me realise that having a hearing test is not as daunting or inconvenient as I first thought.
Mr Mann was using Deaf Awareness Week to encourage people to come forward for hearing tests.
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With more than half of people over 60 suffering from some form of hearing loss, he said it’s important for everyone to get tested.
“A lot of people have high frequency hearing loss, which is a classic example of early age-related loss. A lot of people say that it’s not that I can’t hear it’s just I’ve lost a bit of clarity,” he said.
Most people can have a check-up with their GP before they visit a specialist centre, but if they or their doctor feel they need extra help they can visit a centre like the one I visited.
The booth at Click uses state of the art audio equipment to test peoples’ hearing in a variety of situations, simulating their experiences at restaurants, on busy streets and elsewhere.
Mr Mann said: “You hear all the time that people say their hearing is fine in this room (where they see a consultant), but it’s really private conversations that they have trouble with.
“I thought, there’s got to be a better way to do this, and rather than take every client out for a meal to get that experience I had this installed.”
And help is available for a variety of the problems which can be diagnosed, from a simple clean, to a pair of hearing aids.
“Even with tinnitus, there are things that can be done to improve it; no one should be told they just need to put up with it,” he said.