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Questions From Your Hearing Specialist:
What They Mean, Why They Matter, and How to Prepare for Them
Now that you’ve arrived at finally making (or getting ready to make) that first appointment for a free hearing evaluation with Lifestyle Hearing Solutions, it goes without saying that you’ve already done your fair share of research. From the causes of hearing loss to hearing aid technologies, you’ve surely spent plenty of time looking for the information you need to make informed decisions about your future.
But as helpful as that information is in your continued journey toward hearing solutions, nothing comes close to what a licensed hearing specialist offers. After all, they are trained experts in all things hearing, and are certainly the most equipped to answer your questions about your hearing loss.
But in an appointment with your hearing specialist, you won’t be the only one asking questions. As knowledgeable as they are, hearing specialists are still unfamiliar with your own personal experiences with hearing loss. When it comes to guiding your on your journey toward hearing solutions, hearing specialists need more than just medical expertise – they need information about you, too!
To get a better understanding of what information your hearing specialist is looking for, consider these five important questions and what they mean. Before your first appointment with Lifestyle Hearing Solutions, here’s what you should know about what those questions mean, why they matter, and how you can prepare for them. That way, you’re sure to get off on the right foot on your journey towards better hearing!
When did you first begin to experience hearing loss?
What It Means: With this question, a hearing specialist is working on identifying just how long you’ve been experiencing hearing loss, and how quickly it has progressed.
Why It Matters: Knowing this information helps a hearing specialist determine if you have experienced rapid onset hearing loss, or a more gradual change in hearing. A majority of hearing loss is caused by aging or external factors like prolonged exposure to loud sounds, and usually has a more gradual onset. But for those that experience a very quick onset of hearing loss, it could point to other underlying medical factors beyond just aging, as well as signal that you might have a form of conductive hearing loss that’s caused by impacted earwax or another kind of ear canal blockage.
How To Prepare: Identifying when you started noticing your hearing loss seems pretty straightforward, but that’s hardly ever the case. Especially if you’ve experiencing gradual hearing loss, rolling back the clock and pinpointing when you started noticing it can be a challenge. The best way to prepare for this question is to ask your family and friends. Most likely, they began noticing your hearing loss before you did, and they can help put a finger on when those changes started to occur.
In what situations is your hearing loss most noticeable?
What It Means: When your hearing specialist asks about this, they are probably trying to figure out what kinds of hearing environments cause the most trouble for you.
Why It Matters: Your sense of hearing, like vision, is a lot more complicated than just “can” and “can’t”. We experience hearing loss in a lot of different ways, with some having a harder time with high-pitched sounds than others, who might have a difficult time deciphering between background noise and speech. Each experience points to different kinds of hearing loss, with physical and neurological damage affecting different aspects of our hearing. Plus, by identifying when we have a hard time hearing, a hearing specialist can also start to bridge the gap between your personal experience and a hearing solution (usually a hearing aid) that could help.
How to Prepare: Your best bet here is to simply pay closer attention to your hearing difficulties. You’ve surely noticed that you have a difficult time hearing, but you might not have paid close attention to when you notice it until now. Start making a mental note of when you feel fatigued in environments with lots of background noise, or when you can’t understand the high-pitched voice of a child. Better yet, write it all down – sometimes the specificity of particular instances can make your hearing specialist’s job even easier!
Who else in your family has suffered from hearing loss?
What It Means: When a hearing specialist begins asking about people in your family and their experiences, they are getting a better understanding of how hearing loss might “run in the family”, and how your family members’ experiences could inform your own solutions.
Why It Matters: While a majority of those that suffer from hearing loss do so because of damage from loud sound and aging, some have a pre-disposition for hearing loss thanks to hereditary causes. If a hearing specialist can identify a pattern of hearing loss in your family, this can help them figure out what solutions work best for you (and give you a “heads up” for possible hearing loss in family members). This can also help them rule out certain conductive hearing loss factors and focus their energy on other causes.
How to Prepare: This is another question that might call on your communication with family and friends. While you might not remember everything about a family member, others in your circle might. Ask about closer relatives like parents, siblings and grandparents before branching out further to more extended family.
Have you had any recent changes in your medical well-being?
What It Means: Hearing loss is dependent upon lots of different factors, and your overall health is one of them. Your hearing specialist might ask you about other medical issues you’ve had in order to draw connections between them, and to start to narrow down the causes behind your hearing loss.
Why It Matters: Although most hearing loss is just a matter of aging, and can be treated with advanced hearing aid solutions, some hearing loss is a symptom of other illnesses and medical issues. A hearing specialist wants to take the time to find out why you’ve experienced hearing loss so that solutions will help. This is one of the most important questions for that aim – by taking the time to consider other medical factors, they are making sure that you are getting the care and solutions that you need.
How to Prepare: A visit to your doctor isn’t always necessary before a hearing appointment, but a quick check-up certainly isn’t a bad idea. If nothing else, this will give you the peace of mind that your hearing loss is not a symptom of bigger problems, and will give your hearing specialist additional confirmation that your hearing loss is something that can be treated with their hearing aid expertise.
What is your goal for finding a hearing solution?
What It Means: Your hearing specialist has a pretty good feeling that along with that research you’ve done about hearing loss, you’ve also looked into hearing solutions. This question is that first step in figuring out what you know, and what solution you’re looking for.
Why It Matters: Hearing specialists are certainly experts in finding hearing solutions, but at the end of the day, it is your best interests they have at heart. After all, hearing specialists don’t want to prescribe solutions that aren’t what you want or need – they want to guide you in finding aids that fit your budget, lifestyle and needs. They know that no one knows better about what you want than you, and they want to hear about your ideas, too. By asking about your goals – both long- and short-term – your hearing specialist can get a jump start on figuring out what those next steps might look like.
How to Prepare: It’s hard to know exactly what kind of hearing aid you should research without the information your hearing specialist will provide you during those first few office visits, but it doesn’t hurt to start looking around. But remember – your hearing specialist is the expert in hearing aids, so although they are eager to take into consideration your own research and ideas, they have the knowledge to really guide you in that final decision.