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What To Expect At Your 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.
At your first appointment, your audiologist will sit down with you to discuss your current health status including any concerns, medications and family history. It is a good idea prior to your appointment to write down any questions you have. You should also bring along a list of your current medications. You may also want to check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage, and if there is any copay or deductible. We suggest you bring along a close family member or friend to your appointment. Often the accompanying person helps in providing insight into the issues you may be experiencing. It is also helpful to have a trusted family member or friend with you when we review the results and suggest possible treatment options. You should allow an hour for your initial appointment.
EXAM & DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
Following the history, the first step is to perform an otoscopic exam to determine if there are any physical issues that may be of concern including infection, irritation or impacted earwax. As long as there are no issues that could interfere with the testing, patients are seated in our sound treated booth to complete the diagnostic test which includes several components includes establishing pure tone thresholds through both headphones and bone conduction. This will let us know at what level you are able to hear the tones across the frequency range where most speech is heard. Speech testing provides us information regarding the softest level you are able to hear and understand speech as well as how clearly you can understand speech when it is presented at a level loud enough for you to be able to hear it based on your current pure tone thresholds. Speech in noise testing provides information about how well you are able to separate and understand speech in the presence of background noise. Additional diagnostic tests may be necessary to provide additional information in certain cases.
REVIEWING THE RESULTS
Following the testing, your audiologist will review the results with you and those accompanying you. The information obtained will allow us to determine if there is a medical issue or concern for which you should be referred to an MD or DO for further evaluation or treatment. If the results indicate a typical sensorineural hearing loss with no medical contraindications, hearing aids may be the required treatment. If so, our audiologists will give you an opportunity to listen to hearing aids and discuss the most appropriate options for your particular loss and hearing needs.
FOLLOW UP VISITS
If follow up testing is necessary, or if you are a candidate and choose to pursue hearing instruments to treat your hearing loss, we will schedule you to return to our office. During a hearing aid fitting, our audiologists will program the instruments to your loss, perform real ear measurments which are essential to verify that the instruments are providing you with the proper prescription for your loss, and review the proper use and care of the devices, as well as answering any questions you may have. Follow-up appointments are then scheduled to monitor you progress, make any necessary adjustments and or address any questions or concerns you may have.
Knowing what to expect at your upcoming Audiology appointment helps you to be more at ease with the process. For some people, the thought of having a hearing loss causes some anxiety. But the more you know about what to expect, the more at ease you will be.