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What to Expect at an Audiology Appointment

 

Even if it’s been a while since you’ve had your hearing checked, you probably remember those hearing exams in school. While it’s not quite the same, the hearing test process is surprisingly familiar. It still involves listening for tones in different volumes and pitches. But there’s more to it. Here’s what to expect at an audiology appointment.

A consultation

Your appointment begins with a meeting. You and the audiologist sit down to discuss your current health, any concerns, your medications and family history. It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have prior to your appointment and bring along your medical records. You’ll also want to check with your health insurance provider to determine your coverage and if there is a deductible. You can also bring a friend or family member with you to the appointment for moral support. The entire appointment takes about an hour.

Several examinations

After the consultation, your audiologist will examine your ears. He or she uses an otoscope to look inside your ear canal and check for irritation, infection or earwax impaction. Your outer ear, ear canal and eardrum are examined. The next step involves several hearing tests, usually at least two or three. The two most common tests are sound tests. You enter a soundproof booth and put on a pair of headphones. Your audiologist plays a series of tones of different frequencies and volumes. Some are high-pitched, others low-pitched. You identify in which ear you hear the sound. The second sound test involves words. You listen to spoken words and repeat them. These tests help the audiologist determine if you have a hearing loss and the range in which it occurs.

Discussion of the results

After your hearing tests, your audiologist will show you an audiogram, which charts the areas where any hearing loss occurs. If the audiologist suggests hearing aids, he or she will show you the styles that work best for your hearing loss and budget. Some styles of hearing aids can be fitted on the same day while others may require a custom-fitted earpiece. If so, your audiologist will take an ear impression.

Follow-up visits

If your devices have custom earpieces, you will return to the office in a week or so for another fitting and programming. If you received your hearing aids at your first appointment, you will return to discuss how well they’re working for you and to fine-tune any issues. Most people see their audiologists at least once a year after receiving hearing aids. You’ll also visit the office to pick up batteries and if you have any problems with your devices.

Knowing what to expect at an audiology appointment helps you to be more at-ease with the process. For many people, the thought of having a hearing loss and wearing hearing aids causes some anxiety. But the more you know about audiologists and hearing exams, the better prepared you are to deal with whatever the future holds.

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