What Happens at Your Appointment
So, you’re thinking about making an appointment to get your hearing checked? Great thought! Being proactive about your hearing health goes a long way towards your overall health and wellbeing. Here’s a general idea of what you can expect at a hearing assessment.
You’ll be asked to complete a new patient form
As with most healthcare appointments, you will have some paperwork to complete when you arrive. Audiologists are trained to not only assess your hearing but determine if your hearing problems may be caused by a medical condition that requires special medical attention. If there is a suspected medical condition, we can refer you to a medical specialist when appropriate.
We will ask you questions to understand your concerns and your needs
Much of the information we need to help you with your hearing is gained during our initial discussion. Providing accurate information helps us give you the best care possible. You may be asked to provide the following information:
- Medical history – There are several medical conditions that seem completely unrelated to your ears but, in fact, could be linked. Answering questions about your medical history will help identify potential causes of your hearing loss, even if you weren’t aware of the connection.
- Medications (including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements) — You would be amazed at the hundreds of drugs and supplements that can cause hearing loss or other ear-related symptoms.
- Ear-related symptoms and history – we will definitely want to know if you’ve had past ear-related issues, such as tinnitus or vertigo, ear ache, discharge from the ears, exposure to loud noise, history of ear infections, or previous ear surgeries.
- Your hearing concerns – It’s important for you to describe any hearing difficulties you’re having and in which situations or environments they occur. Your specific concerns become valuable outcome measures.
If we can address your concerns, we know we are delivering good outcomes, and this is the level of service we aim for.
Your ears will be visually inspected
We will generally start by looking into your ears with a handheld scope, called an otoscope. We look for signs of abnormalities or medical conditions that could be contributing to your hearing concerns. In addition, it’s possible you simply have earwax in your ears that is causing or contributing to your hearing problems or may prevent accurate measurement of your hearing. If earwax is observed, we are skilled and professionally trained to remove it safely.
Your hearing will be assessed and tested
The hearing assessment usually involves multiple tests which could include:
- A pressure test to check the flexibility of your eardrum (and its ability to tranfer sound)
- A tone test (audiometry) to measure how softly you can hear tones of different pitches (which will be charted on an audiogram)
- A speech test where you are asked to repeat words you hear at different levels
Discussion of the results of your hearing test
After testing, we will discuss your results and make recommendations for next steps. If potential medical conditions are identified, we will refer you to your GP or an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. If your hearing is normal, you can rest easy. If a hearing loss is detected, we can discuss the various management options including hearing aids or other assistive devices. Additional discussion of your hearing aid options can take place right away or may require a second appointment.
Annual hearing tests should be part of your health care
Depending on the results of testing, you should expect your hearing appointment to last approximately an hour. Your hearing is linked to so many things that impact your quality of life, including your work, relationships, physical and mental health and general wellbeing. It’s important to be proactive and to treat any hearing loss before it turns into something bigger. So, go ahead. Ring us to book your hearing appointment today!