Considering booking an appointment to have your hearing checked? (That’s great! Being aware of your hearing and proactive about your hearing health can go far when it comes to your overall health and well-being.) It will be helpful to know what to expect when you have your first appointment and hearing test with a hearing healthcare professional. While the process and procedures may vary, we can still pose a general idea of what to expect.
You will need to complete intake forms
Similar to any healthcare appointment, you will likely have to do some paperwork when you first arrive. Hearing professionals are trained to assess your hearing and determine if your hearing problems may be caused by a medical condition. If a medical condition is found, they will refer you to the appropriate type of medical professional.
A large majority of the information that hearing professionals need to make the medical determination is gained through the paperwork you complete during your initial appointment. So, full disclosure by you will help the hearing professional give you the best possible care possible. The following information may be required on your intake forms:
- Insurance information: Some insurance plans cover hearing testing and/or hearing aids. When you provide your insurance information, the clinic should check your benefits and determine your eligibility and coverage.
- Medical history: There are a few medical conditions that seem quite unrelated to hearing, but actually could be linked. For example, people who have been treated with certain chemotherapies for cancer have a higher possibility of developing hearing loss. Answering questions about your medical history will help expose potential causes of your hearing loss, even if you aren’t aware of the connection.
- Medications (prescription, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements): You would be very surprised at how many drugs and supplements that can cause hearing loss or other ear-related symptoms. Your hearing professional can you rule out any potential culprits.
- Ear-related symptoms and history: Your hearing professional will want to know if you’ve experienced any ear related issues in the past, like ringing in your ears, pain, any exposure to loud sounds, ear infections and ear surgeries.
- Your hearing concerns: It’s imperative that you talk about any hearing difficulties you’re having and in which situations or environments they occur. Your provider can learn a great deal from your test results, because no two people with the same hearing test results are the same. If you sometimes have trouble at work, on the phone, while in church, social activities, etc. - let your hearing professional know!
It’s normal for the provider to visually inspect your ears
Your hearing professional will usually begin by looking into your ears with a handheld scope, called an otoscope. They’re searching for any signs of abnormalities or medical conditions that could possibly be affecting your hearing. In addition, it’s possible that you simply have a buildup of earwax that may be contributing (or causing) your hearing problem or could prevent accurate hearing measurements and/or test results.
You will be given a hearing test
- A pressure test that checks the flexibility of your eardrum (and the ability to transmit sound)
- A tone test will measure how softly you can hear different pitch tones (which will be charted on an audiogram)
- A speech test where you are asked to repeat words and/or sentences you hear at different sound levels
You’ll discuss the results of your hearing test
After testing, the hearing professional will discuss your results and make recommendations for next steps. They may refer you to your Primary Care Physician or an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. Your hearing professional may also recommend that you have another hearing exam in a few months or a year. If an exam is completed and the problems are fully revealed, they may recommend hearing aids or different assistive devices. More discussion about your hearing aid options may happen right away or could require another appointment.
Yearly hearing tests need to be in everyone’s health regimen
Depending on your testing results, you can expect the hearing appointment to last about an hour. Hearing is linked to many things that can impact your quality of life — like your career, relationships, physical and mental health, to just name a few — so it’s important to be proactive and treat any hearing loss before it turns into something more serious.
Find a hearing professional near you and schedule yourself for a hearing appointment today!