What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Your journey to better hearing starts here

Congratulations on taking an important step in your journey to better hearing! You’ve acknowledged your hearing loss and its impact on your life (something that’s difficult for many people to do). Following are some insights about what to expect at your first appointment with your hearing care provider and a few tips to help you prepare. Keep in mind that this process may differ from one provider to the next.

How to prepare for your appointment

Below are a few suggestions for making your appointment as efficient and productive as possible:

  1. For a week or two before your appointment, make notes about when and where you’re having difficulty with your hearing. This information will be helpful during the discovery process.
  2. Set aside an hour and a half for your appointment. It might not take that much time, but planning for a longer appointment is better than feeling stressed because you’re squeezed for time.
  3. Invite a family member or close friend to accompany you to the appointment. Besides helping you feel more comfortable, this person can help you remember all the information you’ll be getting and may think of additional questions to ask your provider.

During your appointment

Getting acquainted

The appointment starts with introductions and an opportunity for the provider to obtain a medical history, medication list, and a basic understanding of your hearing difficulties and listening experiences. (This is where your notes will come in handy!)

Exam and testing

This segment of the appointment usually includes:

  • A look inside your ear with an otoscope or video otoscope (a special lighted instrument) to check your ear canal and eardrum
  • “Hearing threshold test” to determine the degree and type of hearing loss
  • “Word recognition test” to evaluate your ability to understand speech in different environments

Two-way Q&A

Here is when your provider will build on the initial conversation with more specific questions such as:

  • What is your daily routine?
  • How often does your listening occur in background noise?
  • Do you experience buzzing, whistling, chirping, or ringing in one or both ears (signs of tinnitus)?
  • In addition, if hearing aids are recommended for your hearing loss, the provider may ask about your comfort level with several variables, such as technology options, cost, and how the hearing aids look on you.

Of course, you’ll undoubtedly have questions — and you should feel free to ask them. For example, you may want to know:

  • What type of hearing loss do I have, and how much hearing loss is there?
  • Do both ears have the same amount of hearing loss?
  • Can hearing aids address the problem in one or both ears?
  • How much improvement can I expect with hearing aids?
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent future hearing loss?

After your appointment

The appointment with a hearing care provider is an important first step in your journey to better hearing. But the best is yet to come: returning to the activities and social interactions that you had avoided due to hearing loss.

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