If you’re concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss, then your first step is going to be to make an appointment for a hearing test. However, a lot of people don’t know or remember what these are like since, if you did have one before, it was likely when you were still a small child. For that reason, let’s break down what you should expect from a hearing test, as well as some of what might follow if you go get diagnosed with hearing loss.
When you get there
The first thing that happens when you get there is that you’re going to fill some forms at reception, usually taking your basic contact, health care, and insurance information. When your hearing health professional is ready to see you, they’re going to ask you in to start with some questions. These questions are going to cover your medical history, including any medication you have been taking previously or are currently taking, as well as any hearing health symptoms, not to mention injuries you might have incurred to the head or ear as of late. There’s nothing wrong with taking notes ahead of time if you’re worried you won’t be able to recall all the information that you need during the appointment.
Physically examining the ear
The information that your hearing health professional gathers may help them learn more about potential causes of hearing health problems, as well as specific issues to look for. However, they’re still going to perform a physical examination of the ear. In most cases, this is not invasive at all, but simply involves the use of an otoscope, which you can find more info on, to look inside the outer ear canal. From here, they will be able to see signs of issues such as earwax build-ups, fluid, or infection. If any of these are causing temporary hearing loss, then it may go away after they are treated, but this does not happen in every case.
The hearing test itself
After the physical examination, your hearing health professional will lead you through what is most commonly referred to as the hearing test. This typically comes in two different types, but there may be additional tests if your hearing health professional deems it necessary. The tone test involves going into a soundproof proof (if available) and listening to a series of tones, played at different frequencies and volumes. The speech test is much the same, only it involves listening to spoken phases at different frequencies, volumes, and levels of background noise. You will be told to respond to them, and depending on your response, the hearing health professional will complete what is called an audiogram, which is a graphic display of your hearing range, which can be used to diagnose hearing loss.
Choosing a hearing aid
If you do have hearing loss, then the most common form of treatment is the use of a hearing aid. Hearing aids receive noise from the environment and amplify it inside your ear so that you can better hear them. Your hearing health professional is going to help you select the best hearing aid suited to your needs and budget, but it doesn’t hurt to do your research on them ahead of time and to learn more about the different types as well as features. For instance, there are features like wind noise reduction which can help those who spend a lot of time outdoors or directional microphones which can be very useful for those who spend a lot of time verbally communicating with others, especially in environments with background noise.
Continuing your hearing health care
You’re going to need to continue to protect your hearing health even if you are diagnosed with hearing loss. Similarly, not getting diagnosed doesn’t mean that you’re entirely in the clear. You should talk with your hearing health provider about ways to take care of your hearing, such as by wearing hearing protection and avoiding environments that have excessive levels of noise. If you do start using hearing aids, then you will also need to learn about how to maintain them, including how to clean them every day and how to manage and use the batteries that power them.
A hearing loss diagnosis need not be as scary as it might sound, especially with the help of the right hearing health professional at your side. Hopefully, the points above give you a better idea of what to expect when you go for a hearing test.
Thank you for reading!