So you think you have hearing loss. What are the first steps you should take? What can you expect?
The first step is probably a visit to a clinic or your family physician’s office, where you’ll most likely receive a hearing screening. A hearing screening is the initial test for hearing loss, and it has simple pass / fail results. Once you’re tested, if further action is needed, you may be referred to an audiologist.
Once you’re at the audiologist’s office, you’ll go through another, more in depth test called a hearing evaluation. A hearing evaluation is a “complete hearing test” and will determine the type, severity, possible cause of, and treatment options for your hearing loss.
After the evaluation, your audiologist will discuss options. These options could include a referral back to your physician, the removal of wax, recommendations for assistive technology such as TV or telephone amplifiers, or hearing aids. If it turns out you do need hearing aids, don’t worry — the aids of today probably aren’t what you’re imagining. Hearing technology has evolved temendously over the past decade. Some of the options you’ll be offered will be as varied as invisible in-the-ear aids, rechargeable aids, as well as aids that can connect and stream via bluetooth to the everyday technologies around you.
If you decide to purchase a hearing device, you’ll be walked through cleaning and maintenance tips. If you’re hearing loss doesn’t necessitate an aid just yet, you will most likely be scheduled for a hearing evaluation yearly, so your audiologist can monitor your hearing.
If you believe you have a hearing loss, talk to your physician immediately. Early intervention and care are important.