Questions to Ask an Audiologist
An audiologist does more than just evaluate hearing and fit hearing aids. Audiologists have an advanced degree (most hold a Doctor of Audiology degree, and Au.D.) and not only check hearing, but also treat balance disorders, auditory nerve function issues, ringing of the ears (tinnitus) and more. If you’re having trouble hearing the TV or some conversations, it may be time to have a hearing test. Here are some common questions to ask an audiologist.
What does a hearing exam involve?
During an exam, the audiologist will ask your medical history, examine your eardrum and outer ear, and check how well you hear (audiological function). The medical history helps determine any causes of hearing loss and will include questions about family history, your health history, and any medicines you take.
The physical examination of your ears involves an otoscope, which is used to look inside the ear canal. This allows the audiologist to check for any signs of trauma, infection, or blockages.
The next step involves several hearing tests to determine what sounds you hear (volume and pitch) and how your middle ear functions.
These tests allow the audiologist to determine the cause of your hearing loss.
Does treatment always involve hearing aids?
Not necessarily. Because an audiologist can do more than just fit hearing aids, they can treat many different causes of hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss often is due to exposure to noise, trauma, aging, medicine, or disease. Temporary and sometimes permanent hearing loss is caused due to an infection, allergies, fluid in the ear or impacted earwax. Audiologists can treat these and many other issues.
Additionally, audiologists can evaluate and treat hearing loss in people of all ages.
If you do need hearing aids, the audiologist will discuss what type of hearing aid works best with your degree of hearing loss. Audiologists offer many types of hearing aids, including behind the ear, in the ear and in the canal. They also will fit your hearing aids, program them and help you learn how to use them properly.
How do you prepare for your appointment?
The best preparation involves doing a bit of research about hearing issues prior to the appointment and writing down any questions you might have. Come prepared with a list of your health issues and medications. Make note of when and where you have difficulty understanding conversations or hearing sounds. It’s a good idea to bring a friend or relative with you for the first appointment so that they can take notes and also ask questions.
When you think about all the preparations you do prior to making a major purchase or going on a long trip, it only makes sense to make the same effort when considering a hearing exam. After checking the internet and asking friends and family about their experiences, it should be simple to find questions to ask an audiologist prior to or during your visit.