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The time has finally come for your hearing exam and consultation! Perhaps you were unsure if you had hearing loss at all. Now that your exam is coming, you will know for sure if you are struggling to hear more than you used to. With that information in hand, you can an informed choice about assistance options.
However, you will want to know a lot about your options before making such a big purchase. When you go for your hearing test and consultation, you can expect your audiologist or hearing specialist to ask you a number of questions, but you should be prepared with your own questions, as well. It is easy to get flustered or forgetful during this kind of appointment, particularly with such an important decision before you.
The following list of questions may be helpful to bring with you. Having a friend or loved one prepared to remind you about your questions can be a good idea, in addition to offering moral support. At the very least, have a list of questions written down with you, so that you can take a look before your consultation is over.
What kind of hearing loss do I have?
Although the results of the hearing test can be difficult to understand, particularly the graphic depiction of hearing loss presented in an audiogram, you will want to know the basics about your hearing loss in the meeting. The most common form of hearing loss that develops over the lifespan through the natural process of sound exposure is called sensorineural hearing loss, taking place in the tiny hair-like tissue of the inner ear. You will also want to ask if your hearing loss is evenly occurring in both ears or if you have a “bad ear” compared to the other. You can also ask if there is a particular range of hearing in which it will be more difficult, such as the range of a child’s voice.
What should I expect from my hearing aids?
Once the audiogram is interpreted, your hearing specialist will be able to recommend hearing aid options to you if they are an appropriate solution. You will want to understand the placement, functionality, and price of the various options. If you have any specific desires or limitations, be sure to mention these to your hearing specialist as soon as possible, because they may affect the choice of aids. For instance, if you have arthritis or dexterity problems with your hands, you will most likely not want the tiniest hearing aids. Within the range of options offered to you, be sure to ask about the tradeoffs between price and features, because not all features will be useful to you.
How do I need to care for my hearing aids moving forward?
Although the latest hearing aid technology is relatively low-maintenance, there are things you can do to keep them in top working order. Some hearing aids have a rechargeable battery that will need to be charged regularly to be effective, while others need to have disposable batteries replaced periodically. Basic cleaning and debris removal are necessary with all hearing aids, and you will want to learn how to complete these tasks. You will also want to inquire about the anticipated life of your aids. Most new hearing aids should last for many years, and you want to be sure that your aids will serve you as long as possible.
What are my financing options?
Although some people are able to pay for their hearing aids outright, many people need to use financing to extend the cost of the hearing aids over time. Some insurance can cover or at least offer a discount on hearing aids, while others do not offer such assistance. One of the most important questions to ask is what to do if your hearing aids do not suit you. Most hearing professionals will suggest that you give them a good try for at least a month. However, if at the end of that period you still find that they are not the right devices for you, be sure to get clear information about what to do about returning or exchanging them.
Pacific Northwest Audiology
If you’ve noticed changes in your hearing, now’s the time to take a hearing test! At Pacific Northwest Audiology, we provide comprehensive hearing health services and we’re here to help you find the best solution for your hearing needs. Contact us today to learn more!