Taking action on the hearing loss symptoms you are experiencing is a major step towards supporting your health and wellness. Your hearing consultation appointment will involve assessing your hearing in both ears. Your hearing healthcare provider will provide you with your results and have a conversation with you about treatment and next steps. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about your results so that you have a solid understanding of what your hearing needs are and how they can be met. Developing a list of questions is a great way to prepare for this conversation. The following questions can help you get started:
- What type of hearing loss do I have? There are three types of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural: this permanent type of hearing loss is the most common and it occurs in the inner ear when sensory cells are damaged. A variety of factors can cause this including loud noise exposure, aging, existing medical conditions, head injuries, and inner ear disorders.
- Conductive: this type of hearing loss occurs in the middle ear and is often temporary. It occurs when there are physical obstructions that prevent soundwaves from being fully absorbed and/or traveling down the ear canal to reach the inner ear. Ear infections, growths, perforated eardrum etc. are examples of what can cause conductive hearing loss.
- Mixed: mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
It is important to know what type of hearing loss you have which then informs the best
course of treatment.
- Do I have hearing loss in both ears? Your hearing evaluation will consist of assessing your hearing capacity in both ears. Hearing ability can differ from one ear to the other so it is useful to ask about the specific degrees of hearing impairment in both ears. This may help you understand why one ear seems to hear better compared to the other or why you shift to be able to hear more closely with one ear.
- What is the best treatment option? There are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. The most common treatment is hearing aids – electronics devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process speech as well as sound. The results of your hearing test will determine the specific type of treatment that can effectively meet your hearing needs. Today’s hearing aids are more innovative and savvy than ever before. There is a wide range of options, styles, and features that are designed to optimally support hearing. Your hearing healthcare provider will walk you through your options and recommend devices that can be best for your hearing in everyday life.
- Do I need two hearing aids? It is also important to know if you need hearing aids for both ears. You may think that you do not need two hearing aids, especially if it seems like you can hear just one in one ear. But 90% of people with hearing loss need hearing aids for both ears. Studies show that two hearing aids better support the brain with processing and understanding speech and sound.
- What type of hearing aid is best for me? There are numerous types of hearing aids and your hearing healthcare provider will help you navigate your options. A few factors help identify the type of hearing aid that can be best for you. This includes: the type of hearing loss you have, degree of impairment, and several lifestyle factors like the environments you are regularly in.
- How do I maintain my hearing aids? During your hearing aid fitting appointment (the follow-up to the consultation appointment), you will receive your hearing aids and learn how to best maintain them. Developing a hearing aid routine is an important way to keep your hearing aids in the best condition. Properly storing and cleaning your device is essential to its longevity and performance. Be sure to ask and learn about how to best maintain your hearing aids.
These questions can help increase your understanding of your hearing loss, needs, and treatment. It is important to take the time you need to thoroughly discuss your results and next steps which supports your transition to better hearing health.