4 Important Questions to Ask the Audiologist
If you are diagnosed with hearing loss, you are going to have questions. You might wonder if your hearing loss is something you will pass on to your children or if the condition is permanent. No matter what other questions you ask, make sure you ask these four critical questions.
Questions about your hearing loss
If the result of the audiogram indicates you have hearing loss, ask the audiologist what type of hearing loss you have. Hearing loss falls into three main categories depending on the cause of the loss.
- Conductive hearing loss means that sounds are being conducted from the outer ear to the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is not always permanent and in many instances, can be corrected with surgery or medicine.
- Sensorineural hearing loss means that either the inner ear or the nerves that send signals from the inner ear to the brain are damaged. This type of hearing loss is generally permanent. Unfortunately, it is the most common type of hearing loss.
- Mixed hearing loss occurs when there is both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. The conductive hearing loss may be corrected, but the sensorineural hearing loss will remain.
It is important to find out if your hearing loss is permanent or if you need to seek corrective medical attention from an otolaryngologist or another specialist.
Questions about protecting your hearing
Ask the audiologist what you can do about protecting the hearing you do have. If your conductive hearing loss is due to recurrent ear infections, the underlying reason for the infections must be diagnosed and treated. If your sensorineural hearing loss was caused by ototoxic drugs, they should be identified and replaced with hearing-safe alternatives. If your hearing loss was caused by exposure to sound, the audiologist can recommend protective hearing devices. These are particularly important for musicians and others exposed to loud sounds in the workplace.
Questions about assistive hearing technology
Ask the audiologist about the technology that will benefit you the most. If hearing aids are prescribed, ask if you need to wear one hearing aid or two. You may benefit from a hearing aid with a telecoil setting or assistive listening devices that provide extra amplification where background noise is a problem. You may want to ask about safety alerting devices, such as visual smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and weather alert bed-shaking devices.
Questions about hearing aid purchases
Find out the final cost of your hearing aids before making the purchase. If you need financial assistance, ask the audiologist what resources are available. Ask the audiologist what level of hearing you will have while wearing a hearing aid. Hearing aids do not restore hearing, they make the most of the hearing you have. It is important to have accurate expectations for wearing hearing aids.
Many audiologists and hearing aid manufacturers offer a trial period. Ask if there is a trial period, how long it lasts and what financial responsibility you have if you decide to return the hearing aids. Ask about the warranty and what happens if your hearing aids need repair.
Your audiologist is your partner in better hearing. They are available to answer your questions. All you need to do is ask.