The relationship between you and your audiologist or hearing care professional is more than just an occasional appointment. It should be an ongoing partnership to help you achieve long-term hearing health. The more they can get to know you, the better they can understand your lifestyle needs and provide solutions to help you live an engaged and healthy life.
Hearing care professionals are specially trained to factor in your unique hearing loss needs, personal preferences, and lifestyle requirements to fit hearing aids.
A hearing care professional can consider your hearing needs and lifestyle to provide guidance on a wide range of hearing protection products.
When your body produces an excessive amount of ear wax, a specialist can help clear the passage without damaging your ears.
Along with finding help with hearing loss, a hearing care specialist can perform several different balance tests if you are experiencing dizziness and balance issues.
A hearing care professional can provide recommendations for tinnitus, a common condition which involves ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears.
There are a few things to consider when deciding on your hearing care professional to ensure you’re getting a partner who will help you achieve well-hearing and well-being. They should:
Personal sound amplification devices, otherwise known as direct-to-consumer or over-the-counter hearing aids, might be a tempting alternative, but there are multiple reasons you may want to consider getting dedicated hearing care first.
Your first appointment is the beginning of a relationship with your hearing care professional. They will get to know you, administer tests, and discuss the results. Many hearing care professionals recommend you bring a friend or relative with you to the appointment for additional support.
You and your hearing care professional will begin by discussing your experience, your needs, and your goals to help them understand the best path forward to hearing well.
After you’ve shared your experiences, you will undergo tests to understand what you are hearing and to determine the full scope of your hearing challenges.
Your hearing care professional will take your results, pair them with your information to ensure the data matches your experience and then make recommendations for your treatment.
The most common test is performed in a sound-treated room where you will sit and respond to instructions, such as “raise your hand when you hear a beep”. It aims to see how well you can hear a range of different frequencies.
Speech audiometry tests give a more real-life indication of the impact of your hearing loss. It is also used when fitting hearing aids and diagnosing inner ear conditions like vertigo.
A tympanometry test is often used to determine the health of the middle ear. It can identify if there is fluid in the middle-ear or if the ear drum is damaged.
Because babies can't communicate like older children and adults, there are special hearing tests designed for them that are safe and comfortable, like the Evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE) test, and the Auditory brainstem response (ABR) test.
An online screening test assesses how well you can hear at different tones and asks you to answer situational hearing questions. It gives an initial indication if you have a hearing loss. Your hearing care professional can discuss your results and determine if you might benefit from professional diagnostic testing.
Each hearing aid is uniquely fitted to match your needs and the fitting process usually takes place a few weeks after your initial assessment. You’ll take your hearing aids home with you after your fitting appointment and try them at home for a few weeks. Your hearing care professional will then check how everything is going with your hearing aids and make any fine-tuning adjustments if necessary. Once you’re happy with the fitting and sound of your hearing aids, you can keep them and occasionally visit your hearing care professional to check they’re still meeting your needs. Most hearing aids last between three and seven years before they require an upgrade.