3 Questions to Ask During a Hearing Test
For most people, hearing loss is gradual. You may not even be aware until someone complains that the TV is too loud or that you often ask people to repeat themselves. If you’re in your late 50s or older, it’s a good idea to see an audiologist for an exam. Here are a few questions to ask during a hearing test.
1. What tests are necessary?
A hearing exam begins with your medical history. Your audiologist will ask about any health problems you have, medications you take, and whether anyone in your family has hearing loss. Bring a list of your medications and major surgeries along with you to the appointment.
Next, comes a physical examination of your ears. Your audiologist will take a look at your outer ear, ear canal, and eardrum. If you are concerned about excess earwax, you should ask whether or not you have an impaction. Also, mention any pain you have.
The final part of the exam includes several painless hearing tests. Ask the audiologist the purpose of each test and how the results are determined. If you’re nervous about the tests, ask if a friend can sit with you in the exam room.
2. What do my test results indicate?
Once the tests are complete, your audiologist will go over the results and will discuss what type of hearing loss you have. There are three types of hearing loss: sensorineural loss, conductive loss, and mixed hearing loss. Sensorineural loss indicates damage to the inner ear and an inability to transmit sound to the brain. This type of loss is usually permanent and can be caused by trauma, age, exposure to loud noise, illness, or a drug reaction. Conductive loss means sound is not passing to the inner ear which may be caused by allergies, impacted earwax, or infection. This type of hearing loss may be temporary or permanent. Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural loss and conductive loss. Ask how your treatment can be specifically designed for your hearing loss.
3. Do I need hearing aids?
Your test results and any type(s) of hearing loss you may have will determine if hearing aids will help. In most cases, they will. During the consultation, you may want to ask your audiologist about the different styles of hearing aids and average cost. There are three general styles of hearing aids: over-the-ear, in-the-ear, and in-the-ear canal. Ask about the process of getting hearing aids – what is the first step? How long does it take to get hearing aids? What type of hearing aids will work best for me?
Often, if results show that hearing aids would help your hearing loss, the process starts during the first appointment.
Once you’ve made your appointment with an audiologist, write down some questions you want to ask about the exam. If you know someone who has hearing aids, ask them to describe the process so you can become more comfortable and know what to expect.