If you’ve already scheduled a hearing test, that’s great! Whether you know you have problematic hearing loss or are going in for a routine hearing healthcare checkup, hearing tests are an important part of general healthcare. The non-profit Better Hearing Institute recommends one per decade until age 50, and one every three years after that.
Hearing loss creeps in slowly, and it can be an early indicator of underlying health issues, so regular hearing tests are the best way to make sure you’re in good hearing health.
When you visit us for a hearing test, there are three standard steps:
- A short conference with your audiologist about any issues you’ve recognized, your medical history, and your family medical history
- A physical examination of your ears
- The hearing test, where you are asked to respond to a series of sounds
After the hearing test, your audiologist will present your audiogram and go over your results with you. This is a good time for you to ask a few questions as well, which you may wish to write down and bring with you. Let’s go over a few common questions you might want to ask during your hearing consultation.
What kind of hearing loss do I have?
There are three broad types of hearing loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs in the inner ear or along the auditory nerve. These are the parts of the ear that transduce (convert) mechanical sound into electrical impulses and transport them to the brain. Age-related hearing loss and noise-induced hearing loss are both types of sensorineural hearing loss, usually associated with a loss of high frequencies that may then progress toward more and more problematic hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss is caused by any other part of the ear, from the middle ear outward. It could be anything from an obstruction in the ear canal to an abnormality in one of the three tiny bones in the middle ear. Some conductive hearing loss is temporary, or may be surgically treated.
Mixed hearing loss is a combination of both types.
Will My Hearing Loss Get Worse?
Depending on the type of hearing loss you have, it may be treatable with hearing aids, cochlear implants or surgery. We might recommend wearing earplugs during certain regular activities. Quitting smoking will slow the progress of hearing loss, as will adopting an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED) or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).
Is My Hearing Loss the Same in Both Ears?
In all likelihood, one of your ears will hear a little better than the other. We often talk about “right brain” versus “left brain” thinking. Well, recent research at the University of California at Los Angeles has shown that your ears are working along with the same program. Your left ear is more attuned to music and the emotional tenor of other voices, whereas your right ear tends to get more of the content and logic of speech. More hearing loss in the left ear might make it a little harder to interpret a family member’s mood, and more in the right ear might indicate a little more trouble with logic.
What Type of Hearing Aid is Best for Me?
Be sure to give our team plenty of information about the kinds of activities you do, what your daily routine is like, and the times when hearing loss presents the biggest challenges for you. Part of their job is knowing the vast market of available hearing aids and which ones are best for which lifestyles.
What Kinds of Add-Ons Should I Get?
Hearing aids are an important and substantial investment. While there are add-ons available for hearing aids like separate microphones and telecoils, these may not be necessary for you if you don’t spend a lot of time in chaotic environments or on the phone. Talk through the options that are available for you and we can help you figure out which ones might actually be useful to you and which ones you can do without.
How Often Will I Need Adjustments?
Most adjustments will be made in the first few weeks that you have your hearing aids. It may take a few visits back to the clinic to get the fitment (programming) right; precision scientific measurements are important, but most people find their hearing aids function a little differently once they’re out in the world.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you’re ready to change your life by treating hearing loss, contact us today! We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we look forward to helping you on your journey to better hearing.