You’ve finally made the decision to have your hearing tested, and take a step towards better hearing- well done! Now that you’ve started on your journey, how should you go about preparing for your first hearing test? How much time do you need to set aside, and what should you do before you go? Here are some tips and tricks to help you be fully prepared.
1. Book a comprehensive diagnostic hearing assessment
Whether your hearing test will be performed by an audiologist or an acoustician, be sure that the practice tests comprehensively. Your first hearing test should consist of at least 5 components, but may be more depending on the findings. Make sure that the person testing you will use a sound-treated booth or room, and that they test your response to tones as well as your response to speech. It’s a good idea to check whether they have a machine to measure immittance (middle ear function) as well as speech in noise, as both of these may be required during the testing process, and you wouldn’t want to have to finish your testing at another practice. Ensure that the test is a diagnostic hearing assessment, not just a hearing screen, which wouldn’t give enough information to make management decisions about your hearing.
2. Set aside at least an hour
A first full hearing assessment should involve a comprehensive case history, a look in your ears, multiple tests in a sound-treated booth, and an in-depth discussion of your results. This usually takes about an hour but can take longer. We usually book our first tests for 90 minutes to ensure that we do not need to rush through the testing and discussion.
3. Ensure your ears are clear of wax
If your audiologist finds a wax impaction or a foreign body in the ear, they will likely be unable to continue with the hearing assessment on that day. Often people are not aware that they have a blockage, as it can build up gradually over time. Before your hearing assessment, see your GP or pop in at your nearest pharmacy clinic to have the ears checked for wax. If there is a blockage, have it safely removed by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or a trained medical professional before your hearing assessment. Remember- just because wax doesn’t come out on a cotton bud, doesn’t mean your ear is clear of wax. It can still be built up deeper down, and may even be worse if you use buds regularly.
4. Know your history
The hearing care professional that you see will want to know about your hearing and medical history. While preparing for your first hearing test, take note of all the medication you take, and take a moment to think over any significant illnesses, injuries, or surgeries in your life. While some things may seem unrelated, things like a history of cancer treatment, head and neck injury, or dizzy spells can be relevant to the audiology case history. It can also be helpful to know whether there is any family history of ear or hearing problems, so you might want to investigate before you attend your appointment.
5. Ask a loved one to come with you
It can be very helpful to have someone that you know and trust with you for your first test. A partner or family member is most useful, as they can sometimes help you with more information during the case history. A loved one is particularly helpful as we discuss the results and any recommended management. Sometimes learning about your hearing loss can be overwhelming and it can be hard to take all of the information in- a loved one can serve as another set of ears. It can also be comforting to have the support of someone you trust if you need to think about hearing aids or other treatment options. Often the loved one asks important questions that you might not think about asking yourself.
If you follow these tips and tricks, you should have no trouble preparing for your first hearing test. If you have any questions or comments, contact us, or comment in the box below. If you’d like to know exactly what to expect at your first hearing test, check out this blog post.