What to Ask During a Hearing Consultation

What to Ask During a Hearing Consultation

Bonnie L. Baehr, Au.D.

First off, congratulations on taking the first step towards better hearing by making an appointment at Beverly Hills Hearing Center for a consultation. You have beat the “bad” statistic of many Americans waiting five to seven years to get treatment for hearing loss. Think of what you would miss in that time!

And, you’ve also put yourself on the path to better health in general. Untreated hearing loss can cause hypertension, higher risk of stroke, increased risk of falling, longer hospital stays if you do get injured and other issues such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Here’s what you can expect at your upcoming evaluation at Beverly Hills Hearing Center and some suggestions on what to ask to make sure you get the most out of your appointment.

Your Hearing Evaluation

The evaluation will have a couple of parts. We’ll ask about your health history and your family history because this information is an important part of your diagnosis. There will be a physical exam of your inner and outer ears. Then we will conduct a series of tests to determine your level of hearing and speech comprehension.

Each ear is tested separately and you get results for both ears. We will explain the results in language you can understand and we make it our business to make sure you understand each part of the evaluation. Evaluations are private, but you can bring a friend or family member for support if you like. You might want to ask about:

What Type of Hearing Loss Do I Have?

Will the hearing loss I have get worse? Understanding which type of loss, you have, will help you understand the treatment you will be advised to get. It will also help you understand how treatment is designed to protect your remaining hearing.

There are three types of hearing loss.

Sensorineural is the type of hearing loss which occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the nerve path to the brain from the inner ear. This kind of hearing loss is permanent but can be treated very effectively with hearing devices. It may be caused by a sudden loud noise or prolonged exposure to noise.
Conductive hearing loss happens when sound travels poorly from the outer ear canal to the eardrum. This could be due to blockage from ear wax, an ear infection, allergies or even a benign tumor. Many times, hearing is restored when the blockage is removed.

Mixed hearing loss is a combination of the two.

Are Both Ears Affected?

Your left and right ear may actually hear differently from one another. That’s why each ear is tested and the results are graphed separately. While it may seem logical if the loss is in one ear you should wear one hearing aid, that’s not necessarily true. It’s easier for your brain to process amplification if you’re wearing two hearing aids. About 90% of those with hearing loss need hearing aids in both ears.

Which Model is Best for Me?

There are dozens and dozens of different models of hearing aids. Some go inside the canal; some go inside the inner ear and some sit behind or over the ear. Some need batteries and some are digital. At Beverly Hills Hearing Center, we will help you chose the model of hearing aid that is useful to correct your degree of hearing loss and suits your lifestyle. We will make sure you have clear, realistic expectations for the treatment of your hearing loss. Part of your initial consultation will include questions about your lifestyle so we can use that information to help you pick a model that is right for you. If you seem to be having difficulties hearing in certain environments, we will discuss why that might be happening with you.

Specific Information on Hearing Aids

Depending on the model you get; they do wear out. There are different warranties for different models and we can go through that with you. We will discuss all of those options as well as the technology available with you. We will talk later about adjusting to your hearing aids and we will make sure you are happy with them and they perform the way you expect.

Beverly Hills Hearing Center

At Beverly Hills Hearing Center, we provide comprehensive hearing health services. Contact us to schedule an appointment and get on the path to better hearing!