Uncomfortable Loudness Levels (ULL) test

The purpose of this test is to establish the level at which sound becomes uncomfortable. This information can then be used when setting up your hearing aid and in order to help protect your ears from any uncomfortably loud sounds.
This test is usually carried out immediately following the audiometric hearing test
  • The audiologist will take you into a special soundproof booth or quiet room in which the test will take place.
  • You will have a pair of headphones placed over your ears and you will also be given a special handset with a response button on it. 
  • Your audiologist will play a series of sounds to you through the headphones. These sounds will gradually become louder but you will be asked to press the response button as soon as the sound becomes uncomfortably loud, at which point it will cease.
  • This is not a test to find the loudest sound you can tolerate! It is just to find the level at which you feel the sound has become uncomfortably loud. So you will be told to press the response button as soon as you reach this point.
A patient taking an ULL test (Image © RNID)
ULL Summary
Where is the test done?
Hospital audiology department
Who carries out the test?
How long does the test take?
5 – 10 minutes
Any discomfort/pain?
Very short period of slight discomfort possible
Results ready when?
Special equipment used?
Soundproof testing room, headphones, audiometry equipment
Inform the audiologist beforehand if you have a history of tinnitus
Back to "How ears and hearing are assessed"