Experts recommend making regular visits to your audiologist, or hearing care professional, a part of your medical healthcare regimen, regardless of age and whether or not you already wear hearing aids.
While it’s normal to feel unsure of what to expect from your first visit to your audiologist, we’re here to assure you your appointment is nothing to be apprehensive about.
This quick guide will give you the information you need to feel empowered and prepared.
What to do before a visit to your audiologist
While visits to your audiologist don’t require special preparation, there are a few things you can do to help ensure a productive and helpful appointment.
- Dress comfortably
Part of your appointment will involve a hearing test, which requires wearing headphones. It’s best to skip the jewelry, hats, and hair accessories to ensure there’s nothing to interfere with having a comfortable experience.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to loud noises
Prolonged exposure to loud noise too close to your appointment can cause temporary hearing loss, and potentially distort the results of your audiogram. Avoid loud music or sporting events for 36 hours before visiting your audiologist.
- Bring a loved one
Many hearing care professionals recommend bringing a loved one to the appointment for support. Most people bring either their partner or adult child, but you can also bring a friend, neighbor, or anyone who can provide additional perspective on your lifestyle and hearing abilities.
What to expect from a visit to your audiologist
Just like a visit to your regular physician, your audiologist will ask you about your health background and perform a series of standard tests to assess your hearing abilities. The most important thing you can do is let your audiologist know about your current health habits and lifestyle so that he or she can give you the right treatment, if necessary.
Lifestyle assessment and hearing health history
Your audiologist will have you fill out a brief questionnaire and ask you about your medical history, your lifestyle, and whether you’ve had any surgeries, infections, or other past hearing traumas or issues. Your answers will give your audiologist a better sense of your overall hearing health before they hone their diagnosis with a hearing test.
After discussing your lifestyle and hearing history, your audiologist will thoroughly examine your ears. If your audiologist’s office is equipped with a video otoscope, he or she may use it as part of the examination. The video otoscope uses a tiny camera to see the condition of your ear, and can even take detailed photographs of the inside of your ear canal.
Once your ears have been examined, your audiologist will guide you into a booth and conduct a series of hearing tests.
►Speech test – Your audiologist will ask you to repeat a series of words to assess your speech comprehension abilities.
►Audiometry – This test consists of an air conduction test and a bone conduction test. Your audiologist will ask you to raise your hand or push a button when you hear tones.
►Air conduction test – During this test, your audiologist will play a series of tones at different pitches and volumes to determine the softest sound you can hear.
►Bone conduction test – This test is used to help your audiologist determine the type and severity of hearing loss, and whether your hearing loss originates in the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, or a combination.
Review and discussion of your results
After your hearing test, your audiologist will review your results with you.
Based on your audiogram and test results, your audiologist can work with you to provide recommendations for next steps. If you both decide a hearing aid is right for you, your hearing care professional can help you choose a hearing aid model that best suits your preferences and lifestyle and arrange a free product trial for you.