What to Expect at Your First Appointment
If you are due to attend your first appointment with a hearing health professional soon, you will likely have several questions regarding what to expect from the experience. As the process is unfamiliar, you will naturally be wondering what the appointment will involve, what will happen during any hearing tests that are administered and much more besides. Below, we have sought to explain the process of your first visit, so you can be confident you know exactly what to expect when the appointment day arrives.
The start of the appointment
When you arrive for your appointment, you will usually be asked to fill out some intake forms. These will cover topics such as your insurance details and your medical history. You will also be asked to detail any medications that you have previously, or currently are, taking; you may find it helpful to prepare a list of these beforehand; you can refer to this list rather than having to work from memory. You will also be able to detail any concerns you may have about your hearing, such as events in the past that may have led you to suspect you have hearing loss, or whether you are just attending as a regular check-up.
You will then meet with your audiologist and discuss the information you have provided and any questions you may have. When you are ready to begin, your audiologist will then examine your ear canal with an otoscope to check your overall ear health.
The hearing tests
Audiologists have many different examinations that can assess your hearing, and which test (or tests) your audiologist chooses to administer can vary. However, some types of tests are more common than others, and if it is your first appointment, you can likely expect the following:
- Pure-tone audiometry: Most audiologists use this type of analysis, and it is designed to identify the quietest sound – across a range of pitches and frequencies – that you can hear. You will be asked to sit in a soundproof area and wear a pair of headphones. When the test begins, a range of different sounds at a variety of different volumes and frequencies will be played through the headphones. All you need to do is raise your hand or press a button whenever you hear a sound.
- Speech testing: Designed to established your speech recognition threshold (SRT) – the lowest volume of speech, you can hear 50% of the time, – this test involves listening to your audiologist speak through headphones. You will be asked to repeat the words that you can hear.
- Bone conduction testing: This test is used to help decide what type of hearing loss – if any – that you may be experiencing. A conductor will be placed behind your ear to allow sounds to be transmitted directly to the inner ear. You may feel that your skull vibrates somewhat during the test, but this is entirely normal.
- Tympanometry: For this test, a small probe will be inserted into the ear to change the air pressure in the ear canal and take measurements accordingly. The purpose of tympanometry is to assess the movement of your eardrum, which in turn can help to identify if any hearing loss may be caused by obstructions in the ear – such as earwax, fluid buildup or a tumor.
The above should give you an idea of what to expect from the tests, but your audiologist will also explain the entire process to you before each test commences, and you will also have ample opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
When the tests are complete
Your audiologist will examine the results of all the tests that have been administered and then discuss their findings with you.
- If hearing loss has been identified, your audiologist will explain the results and – if necessary – recommend any further testing that may be required. They will also discuss treatment options with you, with hearing aids by far the most common – and most effective – option. Some audiologists will allow you to try a few hearing aids during the appointment; while others will suggest that you attend a second appointment in the near future.
- If the tests have shown that you are not experiencing hearing loss, then your audiologist will provide a few hearing health tips and make a recommendation as to when your next test should be.
As the above demonstrates, your first appointment with a hearing health professional should be a fairly straightforward process that will provide a beneficial insight into your hearing health.
If you would like to learn more about Sonus, please get in touch with us today at 703-823-3336.