If you have recently scheduled a hearing exam, this is great news! You’ve already taken the first step towards admitting you may have a hearing issue. By the time you get your results, you’ll know with confidence about what the next steps will be. Either you will not have an issue with hearing, or you can begin to find the best treatment options for your individual needs. To make sure you get the most out of your exam, it’s a good idea to have questions prepared, ahead of time. Here is a list of questions that are helpful to ask, so you can get the most out of your exam.
What type of hearing loss do I have? Do you anticipate my hearing becoming worse?
The primary goal of your hearing test is to identify the nature and extent of your hearing loss. The most common type of hearing loss is sensorineural. This type of hearing loss occurs when the tiny cells of the inner ear become damaged due to noise exposure, certain medications, head trauma or even old age. There is currently no way to reverse sensorineural hearing loss, however hearing aids can effectively help you hear the sounds you’ve been missing. There is always the chance that this type of hearing loss can become worse over time. Protecting your hearing from excessive noise and maintaining a healthy diet in combination with exercise can ensure that you will reduce the chances of experiencing further hearing loss.
Less commonly, conductive hearing loss occurs when sound can not travel down the ear canal due to a blockage. This is often an excess of ear wax, an abnormal bone growth or cyst, an infection or even a foreign object. The good news is that in most cases this type of hearing loss can be reversed when the blockage is removed.
Do both ears have the same degree of hearing loss?
During your hearing test both your ears will be tested. At the end, your audiologist will show you an audiogram which marks the threshold of the quietest sounds you can hear for each ear. It is very seldom that each ear has equal hearing. Very often one ear may feel like the “good ear.” However, in most cases both will still have some hearing loss, just one may not be as extreme. It’s important to make sure both ears are equally amplified, as your brain relies on hearing with two ears to detect the direction and proximity of sound. This is referred to by audiologists as localization of sound.
Which hearing aid is best for my particular type of hearing loss and lifestyle?
The hearing aids of the past had a reputation for being unwieldy and prone to feedback due to the analog technology they used. Today’s hearing aids are sleek and digital, ranging from a lot of different styles and features. Understanding what is available ahead of time can help you to make a better decision. Some of the most amazing features available in hearing aids these days include;
- Background suppression to make it easier to hear in noisy spaces,
- Bluetooth and telecoil to help you wirelessly connect to phones, TV’s and even PA systems in public spaces.
- Tinnitus masking
- Artificial technology which uses GPS to identify your location and automatically adjust listening programs on your hearing aids, so you don’t have to think of it at all.
Different features will be appropriate for different individuals, based on their lifestyle. If you live an active and social life then some of these features might be worth it, but for someone who is seldom in public spaces you may be able to get by with a more basic model. The important thing is that your hearing aids work best for you.
How long will these hearing aids last?
The average hearing aid lasts five to seven years. While this may not feel like a long time to some, consider how hard these tiny devices work for you. Ideally your hearing aids are in action from the moment you wake up till the moment you take them out for the best or to bathe. You should wear them everywhere you go, meaning that they can sustain wear and tear from this much work. To make sure you get the most out of your hearing aid lifespan add a cleaning and maintenance regimen to your nightly sleep routine. The better you care for your investment the longer you can enjoy them.
Enjoying Your Investment
These are just some questions that may be helpful. If you have any other we are happy to take the time to answer them and make sure you are well informed on your investment in your hearing. The idea is that you enjoy clear hearing and communication and that is what we are here to help you achieve.