Many people are anxious going into their first hearing consultation and the questions, ‘What should I expect?, What do I need to bring?, and Am I ready for hearing aids?’ are often on their minds. This article will help to answer the basics you need to know when preparing for your appointment and put you at ease.
A typical hearing consultation is comprised of the following steps:
- Medical History & Hearing Concerns: Your hearing specialist will need to know your medical history and contact details so you will fill out a basic intake form when arriving. When you are brought back into the testing room, your specialist will do a consultation to go over your past and current hearing concerns. For this, be sure to bring any previous hearing tests or hearing aids, and a list of the medications you are currently taking. This will help them better understand if your hearing problem is genetic or induced so that you can be given the right line of treatment.
- Physical Examination: The next step is a physical examination of your ear canal. An instrument called an otoscope will be used to further evaluate your hearing status so your specialist can eliminate the outer ear canal as the source of the hearing issues. This exam is quick and should cause no discomfort. The visual otoscopy report can help clarify several things: (1) if you have excess earwax preventing the sound waves from reaching your eardrum (2) if there is foreign matter in your ear canal or (3) if there are any anomalies like a perforation of the eardrum or fluid buildup.
- Audiometry Test: After the physical examination your audiometric thresholds will be checked using an audio booth to measure your hearing thresholds. You will listen to a series of sounds through a set of headphones and indicate which you can hear. This test will pinpoint whether a potential hearing loss is being caused by middle ear dysfunction or by inner ear damage. Next, a series of speech tests will be administered to measure your ability to understand people clearly at different volumes and in different environments. From these tests, your provider can make a diagnosis of the type and severity of hearing loss, if one is present.
- Recommendations and Prescription: At the end of your consultation, your hearing specialist will explain your results and make recommendations if treatment is necessary. Your lifestyle, and physical and mental needs will be taken into account before a hearing aid prescription is made. In most cases, you will be given a range of styles and price points that can provide the appropriate treatment outcome for you. This is your opportunity to ask any and all questions so that you feel confident as you begin experiencing life in crisp, clear focus again!
We hope you have an excellent consultation and please keep checking back for more hearing advice!