You’ve finally given in to your family’s requests to see a hearing specialist. Your family has arranged to take you and even stay with you throughout the appointment, but you can’t help but feel a little apprehensive. You haven’t had a hearing test since you were a child—and while nobody seems to think it’s a big deal, the thought of being diagnosed as hearing-impaired is both frightening and overwhelming.
Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Hearing Testing Appointment
First of all, patients should know that there is no need to worry about the test itself. Most anxiety is caused by the unknown, and patients are afraid because they don’t know what to expect. Here, you will find a general description of what will happen during your appointment, as well as how to get the most out of the visit and get the best treatment for your condition.
Let’s address a few common questions:
- What will happen? Most hearing evaluations have four parts. First, you will meet the hearing specialist and discuss your medical history and the problems you have been having. Next, the specialist will look inside your ears in a brief physical examination. Then, you will be given headphones and asked to listen to a series of speech noises, volume levels, and pitches. Lastly, the specialist will discuss the results of the tests with you and recommend some treatments that can correct your type of hearing loss.
- Will it hurt? Most hearing exams do not hurt at all. If you are experiencing ear or head pain, your hearing care professional will examine your ear canal and inner ear to find the source.
- What should I wear? You should be comfortable, as you will be sitting in a room with your hearing care provider for an hour or more. Avoid wearing hats, headbands, or anything else that covers your head or ears.
- What should I bring? Most patients do not need to bring anything with them other than insurance information and forms for the test. However, if you already have a hearing aid, you should bring that to your appointment.
- What should I ask? Always ask questions about anything you do not understand. In particular, you should ask 1) what type of hearing loss you have, 2) if both ears have the same degree of hearing loss, and 3) how you can prevent your hearing loss from getting worse. If you are likely to forget, it is perfectly ok to ask your specialist to write down the answers so you can refer to them later.
- Should I buy a hearing aid right away? Many hearing testing providers also sell hearing devices. However, your specialist should not pressure you into choosing a device that day. It is important that you be comfortable with your choice, and know the full price, financing options, and warranty on the hearing aid before you buy. There are a lot of hearing devices on the market, so take your time examining the features of each, and try on a few to get a sense of what you like and don’t like.
- Is there a benefit to buying a hearing aid after my appointment? Some hearing centers offer a free trial period on their devices, allowing you to live your daily life with the device and offering a money-back guarantee of you don’t like it. In addition, your specialist can fit and program the device specifically to you, personalizing the settings and making it easier to adjust to life with a device. Also, your professional should ask you about your typical daily activities in order to find the device best suited to your lifestyle.
- Should I make another appointment? Most specialists recommend you have a follow-up test at least once a year to monitor changes in your hearing. If you have purchased a hearing aid, your hearing care provider may offer free cleaning services, maintenance, and occasional adjustments to your device. If you schedule a follow-up appointment, be sure to ask which services are included and which are not.
- What should I take home? You should ask for a copy of your test results, as well as the doctor’s treatment suggestions. If he has recommended a certain type or brand of hearing aid, ask him to write it down for you.
Feel free to print this page and take it with you to your appointment, and pack a pen to note the answers. A well-informed patient is not only likelier to get the best treatment, but can also enjoy full peace of mind about her hearing care. If you would like to speak with one of our hearing care professionals, simply call the number on this page to discuss your questions and concerns.