Hearing loss is a major life change that can be difficult to reconcile with, this leads to many not seeking treatment. Making an appointment with an audiologist is the first step to navigating these new waters. 

At your first appointment, your new audiologist will review your past medical and occupational history as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing. Your comprehensive history combined with your symptoms can be useful in determining the cause of your hearing loss and preventing any further hearing loss. 

After reviewing this information, you will likely then sit for a hearing test. The hearing test occurs in a small quiet, sometimes sound proof, room. You will wear headphones that play beeps of various frequencies and volumes into each ear separately. When you hear a beep, you press a button and this information is then printed onto a graph that allows the audiologist to see any potential hearing deficits and then recommend treatment. Hearing aids are the most common form of treatment.

Tips for the consultation and fitting

  • Do research and bring questions. Whether for your initial consultation or the following hearing aid fitting it’s important to be prepared. This means reading up on hearing aids, how they work and different styles as well as writing down your questions to bring along.
  • Take notes during the appointment. During your appointments you will be getting a lot of new information. Oftentimes, when looking back and trying to remember everything we forget some of the details. Taking notes during your appointments is a good reference for later.
  • Bring a friend. It can be comforting to have a family member or friend accompany us to appointments. Furthermore, it’s useful to have another person in the room to help ask questions and remember details after the appointment. 

Questions for your hearing consultation

  • What type of hearing loss do I have? There are three primary types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed hearing loss. These are categorized based on where in the ear the problem is occurring. Most hearing loss, including age-related hearing loss, is sensorineural. It is almost always permanent and usually treated with hearing aids.
  • What type of hearing aids are available? There are many styles of hearing aids available today. From in the ear to behind the ear to nearly invisible options. They each have pros and cons and your lifestyle as well as degree of hearing loss will be important in determining the best fit for you.
  • How long do hearing aids last? Unfortunately technology wears out over time and hearing aids are no different. Their lifespan will be determined by your lifestyle, how well they are cared for, and even the style of the hearing aid. For example, in the ear style hearing aids are more prone to ear debris and wax buildup, making regular care very important.
  • Does insurance cover the cost of hearing aids or their batteries? We’ve come a long way in terms of recognizing the medical needs of those with hearing loss however sometimes insurance doesn’t cover the cost, or they cover only some of the cost. Make sure to discuss costs and payment plans with your audiologist as well as upkeep costs such as replaceable hearing aid batteries.

Questions for your hearing aid fitting

  • What is the adjustment period and how long will it last? Unlike glasses where you can see immediately after putting them on, hearing aids require an adjustment period. This surprises many people and can often lead to noncompliance when not properly prepared.
  • What is the best strategy for beginning to wear my new hearing aids? For the adjustment period, your audiologist will suggest a strategy for the best adjustment. This could be wearing them all day without breaks or it could be starting with a few hours and adding time each day. Speak to your audiologist about what has worked best for their patients in the past and then stick to the schedule for the best outcome.
  • What if I need the sound or the fit adjusted? Hearing aids today are oftentimes connected to either small portable remotes or apps on your phone. This allows the user to adjust the settings as needed. If the fit of the device feels wrong, be sure to bring them back to the audiologist, oftentimes you can get them altered for free within a certain timeframe.
  • How do I clean the device? Hearing aids gather debris, especially ear wax that can damage the device if it gets inside the more sensitive technology pieces. Make sure to review cleaning steps with your audiologist and you have the supplies needed.
  • How do I change or charge the batteries? Another important piece of information to have before leaving the office is how to change or charge the batteries. Some hearing aids have replaceable batteries that you can order online or get in the store and others have batteries that charge overnight.

Now that you’ve reviewed these tips, call us today for your first appointment.