When is the last time you had a hearing test? For many of us, the answer is grade school! For others, a hearing test may be required before employment. Unless you wear hearing aids, it’s likely it’s been a while since your last exam.

If you have noticed some hearing issues, you may be considering an appointment with an audiologist. That’s a good move, especially if you’re in your late 50s or older. But there’s always a little anxiety when it comes to the unknown (such as a hearing test). You might be asking yourself: Am I losing my hearing? What do these exams involve? Will I need hearing aids? Here are five things to know about hearing tests that should help relieve some anxieties.

1. Your audiologist will do a physical exam

If you haven’t been to an audiologist in a long time, you may not be expecting a physical exam. However, the audiologist needs to examine your ears to determine if there are any injuries or signs of infection. The exam also will check for earwax blockages. Audiologists can remove impactions and take care of many ear injuries as well as tinnitus and other problems.

2. The appointment includes a consultation

Your audiologist will do more than just test your hearing. He or she will want a medical history and a list of all medications you take. Your audiologist also will ask questions about your concerns and lifestyle.

3. Hearing tests are painless

The exam performed by your audiologist to check your hearing don’t hurt at all. Usually, three tests are performed during the exam: pure tone testing, speech testing, and tuning fork tests. Each plays a role in evaluating the type of hearing loss you may have and how best to treat it. The tests take place in a soundproof booth.

4. You get the results right away

Once the hearing tests are performed, your audiologist will have immediate results for you. The test results are plotted on an audiogram, which indicates the cause of any hearing loss, the pitches and volumes you may be missing and what works best to improve your hearing. A treatment plan is devised and often begins during the appointment. You may want to take a copy of the test results home so you can review them when you feel less anxious.

5. The results may surprise you

No one gets 100 percent on a hearing test! Still, it’s hard to consider taking tests in which you may not perform well. Remember that the results do not indicate failure, but instead are a roadmap to improving your hearing lifestyle. Many people are surprised to learn that their hearing loss is greater than they expected.

Don’t let anxiety get in the way of having your hearing tested, especially if you suspect that you have some hearing loss. With these five things to know about hearing tests, we hope you’ll feel more comfortable making an appointment.