In part two of our special “Ask the Expert” series, an Amplifon Hearing Health Care audiologist, Carrie Meyer, Au.D., answers a frequently-asked question related to hearing loss and hearing aids.
Here's the Question:
“I’ve lived with my hearing problem long enough, and now I’m going to do something about it! What should I expect at my hearing care appointment, and is there anything I can do to prepare?”
Dr. Meyer's Answer:
First, congratulations on taking a very important step in your journey to better hearing! You’ve obviously acknowledged your hearing loss and its impact on your life (something that’s difficult for a lot of people to do).
Following are some insights about what to expect at the appointment with your hearing care provider and a few tips to help you prepare. Keep in mind that the steps in this process may differ a bit from one provider to the next.
Before the appointment: What you can do to prepare
Following are a few suggestions for making your appointment as efficient and productive as possible:
- For a week or two prior to your appointment, make notes about when and where you’re having difficulty with your hearing. This information will be helpful during the discovery process.
- Set aside an hour and a half for your appointment. It might not take that much time, but planning for a longer appointment is better than feeling stressed because you’re squeezed for time.
- Invite a family member or close friend to accompany you to the appointment. Besides helping you feel more comfortable, this person can help you remember all the information you’ll be getting and may think of additional questions to ask your provider.
During the appointment: What you can expect
An appointment with your hearing care provider will typically consist of these elements:
The appointment starts with introductions and an opportunity for the provider to obtain a medical history, medication list and a basic understanding of your hearing difficulties and listening experiences. (This is where your notes will come in handy!)
EXAM AND TESTING
This segment of the appointment usually includes:
- A look inside your ear with an otoscope or video otoscope (a special lighted instrument) to check your ear canal and ear drum
- “Hearing threshold test” to determine the degree and type of hearing loss
- “Word recognition test” to evaluate your ability to understand speech in different environments
Here is when your provider will build on the initial conversation with more specific questions such as:
- What is your daily routine?
- How often does your listening occur in background noise?
- Do you experience buzzing, whistling, chirping or ringing in one or both ears (signs of tinnitus)?
In addition, if hearing aids are recommended for your hearing loss, the provider may ask about your comfort level with a number of variables, such as technology options, cost and how the hearing aids look on you.
Of course, you’ll undoubtedly have questions — and you should feel free to ask them. For example, you may want to know:
- What type of hearing loss do I have, and how much hearing loss is there?
- Do both ears have the same amount of hearing loss?
- Can hearing aids address the problem in one or both ears?
- How much improvement can I expect with hearing aids?
- Is there anything I can do to prevent future hearing loss?
After the appointment: The best is yet to come!
The appointment with a hearing care provider is an important first step in your journey to better hearing. But the best is yet to come: returning to the activities and social interactions that you had avoided due to hearing loss. Next, I’ll be addressing how you can successfully adjust to your new hearing aids.
Are you hesitant to get hearing help?
Now I’d like to share a special message with readers who haven’t yet committed to addressing their hearing loss: I hope this Q&A answers questions you might have and helps you feel comfortable about visiting a hearing care professional. At Amplifon Hearing Health Care, we make that step easy! Simply click here to request an appointment with a qualified provider near you.