In preparation for your hearing test, it is best to have your ears clear of wax. We can often deal with wax if we find it, but it's best to take care of any wax problem before you come to have your hearing checked and improved.
When you arrive at our office, the first thing you will do will be to fill out a short hearing health questionaire and some information about your hearing abilities, needs, and desires.
As you are brought into our testing room, we will look into your ears to discover any wax or debris in your ear canal that might be impairing your hearing. The integrity and health of your eardrum is also noted. If you wish, we can use a video otoscope to allow you a view into your own ears.
A hearing evaluationis the next step in determining your hearing capability and the extent, type, and specifics of your individual hearing loss. The hearing evaluation will be performed by one of our hearing instrument specialists, using a device called an audiometer. The hearing evaluation consists of a variety of tests to determine the unique aspects of your hearing loss, as well as the levels at which you can detect and understand speech.
Why a Hearing Evaluation is Important
Hearing evaluations give us important information about your hearing loss to help determine how we can help you best. Some types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically, so it's important that these types of hearing loss be ruled out before hearing aids are considered. You may be referred to a doctor specializing in disorders of the ear if there are other problems that should be addressed before hearing aids are recommended. This referral can be the first step in the hearing aid examination.
Once it's determined that you can benefit from hearing aids, the hearing evaluation shows us which hearing aids will be appropriate for your needs.
What Can I Expect During a Hearing Evaluation Appointment?
The examination itself will probably last about 30 to 40 minutes in length. You should also allow for about 30 minutes of discussion time with the hearing instrument specialist to ask questions and receive information about your hearing loss.
If your hearing evaluation reveals a permanent hearing loss, a hearing aid may be recommended for one or both ears. We may explain what sounds you are not hearing and what a hearing can do to help. It is usually at this appointment that you will get to see and try different styles of hearing aids. We will help you choose the best hearing aid style, features and level of sophistication based on your degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, and financial circumstances. The final decision on which hearing aid is purchased is your choice. If the determination is made that you need hearing aids, allow for more time to select hearing aids and components. If the selected hearing aid system is available in stock, we can fit you with your new hearing aids at that time.
Once you decide, the hearing professional may take impressions of your ears if you selected a custom hearing aid or a behind-the-ear hearing aid that requires an earmold. Hearing aids must usually be programmed by your hearing professional to meet your specific hearing needs. The wait to receive custom hearing aids or eamolds from the manufactruer is usually only a week or ten days.
If the appointment includes fitting of new hearing aids that are in stock, it is common for the first appointment to take two or three hours. We usually allow that much time, and if we don't use it, no problem.
It is recommended that you bring a family member with you to the hearing evaluation. Most hearing instrument specialists agree that hearing loss is a family issue. It helps you to have another supportive person at the appointment to help you remember and be clear on all information and recommendations. This person's voice will also be used to test the volume and clarity of your hearing aid.
The hearing evaluation is a good chance to establish a relationship with your specialist. Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions. You will want to be clear on any information you receive so that you can be an active participant in finding hearing solutions that work best for you and your lifestyle.