Questions to Ask During a Hearing Exam

In Hearing Health by Jennifer Douberly, Au.D.

The first step towards treating hearing loss is a hearing consultation appointment. During this initial appointment, your hearing in both ears will be thoroughly evaluated. This involves a painless process that you will be guided through by a hearing healthcare specialist. After your hearing test, you will receive your results and have a conversation about treatment as well as next steps. If you are feeling nervous or anxious about your upcoming appointment, this is completely normal. Preparing a few questions to ask can help you feel better prepared, alleviating any stress you are feeling. The following suggested questions is a useful place to start: 

What type of hearing loss do I have?

There are three different types of hearing loss and treatment will depend on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing. The three types are: 

  • Sensorineural: this type of hearing loss occurs in the inner ear as a result of sensory cells being damaged. Several factors can cause this type of damage including aging, loud noise, and medical conditions. 
  • Conductive: conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle portion of the ear when sound waves are prevented from traveling through the ear to reach the inner ear. This is caused by physical obstructions like accumulated ear wax, bone growths, a perforated eardrum etc. 
  • Mixed: this refers to a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. 

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss accounting for 90% of the hearing loss that people experience today. Unlike conductive hearing loss, sensorineural is a permanent type of impaired hearing that is not curable but is highly treatable. 

What are the specifics of my hearing loss?

In addition to knowing about the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, you want to learn more about the specifics of how you are experiencing hearing loss which varies from person to person. This includes the degree of impairment in each ear – hearing loss exists on a spectrum, from mild to profound and so knowing where you are on this spectrum is helpful. Also, your hearing loss can differ from one ear to the other so getting clear on the needs of each ear is useful. Your hearing healthcare provider can also let you know the types of sounds and speech that are more challenging for you to detect and process. Knowing the details of your hearing loss will help you transition into better hearing. i

What is the best treatment option?

After your hearing healthcare provider shares your results with you, they will also discuss treatment options. They will be able to tailor treatment to meet your specific hearing needs. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. These are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplogy, and process speech as well as sound. There is a wide range of hearing aids which come in different styles, colors, and designs. They also offer various features and technologies that provide personalized listening experiences in everyday environments. 

Which hearing aids are optimal for me?

With many types of hearing aids to choose from, navigating your options can be overwhelming. But your hearing healthcare provider will recommend devices that are optimal for you. They use several factors to do this including: the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, the degree of impairment in each ear, as well as lifestyle factors. If you have aesthetic preferences, an established budget, and other factors you have identified; this will also inform the type of hearing aid that is best for you. 

What are the next steps?

During your hearing consultation appointment, your hearing health will be evaluated and you will discuss a treatment plan. If it is determined that hearing aids are the best course of action, your hearing healthcare provider will present options to you. The follow up to this will be a hearing aid fitting which is another appointment where you will receive your hearing aids. During this appointment, your hearing aids are fitted to your ears to ensure they are comfortable. They are also programmed with specific settings that process sounds in ways that meet your hearing needs. You will also learn everything about your hearing aids during this appointment – from how to use them to effectively clean your device. 

The hearing evaluation and treatment process is noninvasive and straightforward. Contact us today to learn more about this process and how you can prepare for it!