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Ways to Prepare for a Hearing Test
None of us like to be reminded of our limitations. Those who struggle with their eyesight can leave it for months or even years before seeing an optometrist. Those who struggle with back pain can leave it far too long before resolving to see a chiropractor. And for those of us with hearing loss, it can be even more tempting to delay making an appointment with an audiologist for that all-important hearing test. In many ways, it’s only natural. Firstly, the nature of hearing loss is such that it tends to sneak up on us slowly and incrementally over time. Secondly, we all have a tendency to catastrophize when thinking about things that we have been deliberately delaying. We worry that the hearing test itself will be painful or invasive. We worry that the audiologist won’t be patient, understanding or sympathetic. We worry that the experience will be demeaning or upsetting for us.
Needless to say, these kinds of fears tend to be unfounded. The best way to allay fears or anxieties about hearing tests is to educate yourself and ensure that you are as well prepared as possible. Here are some ways in which you can prepare for your hearing test; stick to them and you will find your experience far easier, more pleasant and more productive.
Get to know your audiologist
Many feel apprehensive about their hearing test because they have yet to get to know their audiologist. Yet, while the unknown is always scary these men and women are highly trained and extremely knowledgeable professionals. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about hearing loss, the testing process or solutions if you reach out to them.
Before your hearing test, take some time to get to know your audiologist. Research them online, find out about their credentials, see if they have any reviews left by previous patients and spend some time getting to know them over the phone. The better you know your audiologist, the happier and more prepared you’ll feel going into your hearing test.
Talk to your parents
Some forms of hearing loss are determined by hereditary factors. It’s worth calling your parents and other family members to try and determine any family history of hearing loss. Your audiologist will likely ask you about this.
Get to know your medical history
The better informed your audiologist is, the better they can help you to determine the cause of your hearing loss. Sometimes, previous medical history and any medications you may be taking can be extremely helpful in helping an audiologist to make a diagnosis or recommend a course of treatment. With this in mind, prepare a summary of your medical history and detail any medications you are currently taking.
Read up about the hearing test
Any form of medical testing is an understandable source of anxiety. None of us enjoys the idea of being scrutinized by a medical professional. The truth, however, is that hearing tests are unobtrusive, painless and perfectly pleasant. There are several tests your audiologist will conduct as well as asking you questions about your family history to determine any genetic conditions which may contribute to your hearing loss.
The three most likely tests to be administered will be:
Otoscopy: Your audiologist will take a close look at your ear canal using a gadget called an otoscope. They’ll watch out for signs of infection, excessive wax buildup, hardened wax deposits or obstructions that could contribute to your hearing loss.
Tympanometry: This is where a tiny amount of pressure is applied to the eardrum to determine its response. This tests for abnormalities in the fluids of the inner ear or impediments to free movement of the eardrum.
Audiometry: This test determines which frequencies your hearing is “missing.” This test is used to calibrate your hearing device. You are played noises at a range of frequencies and volumes and you press a button to determine which you can hear.
The more you research and get to know these testing methods, the more confident you’ll feel about the hearing test itself.
Prepare a list of questions
Nerves and new experiences have a tendency to chase salient questions out of our heads. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to spend a few days leading up to your hearing test writing down questions for your audiologist as and when they come to you.
As any scout will tell you, it’s important to be prepared. The better prepared for your hearing test, the more pleasant and productive it’s sure to be! At The Hearing and Tinnitus Center we are completely devoted to making your hearing test experience as easy and effective as possible for you. Call us today at (303) 534-0163 to get to know us better and book your appointment.