4 Questions to ask at Your Audiologist
Audiologists are highly trained hearing specialists who are qualified to advise you on all aspects of living with hearing loss, from assistive hearing devices to counselling, hearing protection and techniques you can use to cope with the everyday challenges posed by your hearing loss. With so much to cover, it can be easy to forget many important questions when your audiology appointment comes around. Here are some key questions to make a note of and take with you to your appointment:
- What type of hearing loss do I have? You could have conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, or a combination of the two. It is important to understand the nature of your own hearing loss, as the treatment possibilities vary depending on which you are experiencing. Conductive hearing loss can often be rectified whereas sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent, but hearing ability can be dramatically improved with the use of aids.
- What is the level and balance of my hearing loss? Namely, how severe is your hearing loss and is it more severe in one ear than the other. If you are experiencing only very mild hearing loss in one or both ears, it may be possible for you to get by without the use of hearing aids, or with only one aid, which can be appropriate for a small percentage of hearing loss sufferers. There is also some research to suggest that people may be affected differently depending on which ear has the lower level of hearing. For instance, hearing loss in the right ear has been linked with mild loss of reasoning ability, while hearing loss in the left ear is more associated with difficulty understanding the emotional tone in speech. There’s no doubt this is an interesting subject and knowing which may apply to you can help you to understand the challenges you may face.
- Is my hearing loss likely to worsen? Many people wrongly assume that a further decline in hearing ability is inevitable once an initial decline has taken place. This is not always the case: depending on what type of hearing loss you are experiencing; further hearing loss can often be completely preventable. Ask your audiologist for advice – see the next question!
- What can I do to protect my remaining hearing? Remember, your audiologist is the complete authority on hearing health, so take advantage of their expertise! There are likely to be many precautions you can take to prevent further damage to your hearing. For example: avoiding certain medications, becoming more aware of the sound levels you are exposed to in day to day life and using ear defenders where appropriate are all protective measures you can take.
Above all else remember that there is no such thing as a silly question where your health is concerned, so ask for as much clarification as you need. Audiologists are dedicated hearing care professionals who should have no problem taking their time to answer your questions and repeat information where necessary!