Congratulations on taking the preliminary step toward better hearing by scheduling your hearing exam. You’re already ahead of the game, as most people delay getting a hearing test for many years—in some cases decades.
But now that you’ve arranged your hearing test, you’ll want to see to it that you’re well prepared for the consultation, particularly if test results indicate that you might benefit from hearing aids. Selecting hearing aids can be challenging, but if you ask the right questions, your hearing care professional can help lead you to the ideal technology.
To achieve the best hearing you can, make sure to ask these five questions at your upcoming hearing test.
1. What kind of hearing loss do I have?
Your hearing care professional will test your hearing using the most current technology, and the results of the test will be printed on a diagram referred to as an audiogram. Ensure that your hearing professional reviews the audiogram with you and discusses:
- The form and extent of your hearing loss. High-frequency hearing loss is most common, and is classified as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
- How hearing aids can help, and if and why you’d need hearing aids for one or both ears. Hearing loss in both ears is most effectively addressed with two hearing aids, and the audiogram will show the results for both ears.
2. Which hearing aid is most suitable for my needs?
Each patient’s hearing loss and hearing requirements are unique. The more your hearing professional understands about your way of life, the better they can suggest the appropriate technology.
If you’re fairly active, for example, you might look into the most up-to-date hearing aid technology with wireless capabilities. If you don’t require all of the bells and whistles, however, a more inexpensive option is probably a better fit.
3. What are my financing options?
Next is everyone’s least favorite subject—price. Although you should keep in mind that the benefits of hearing aids far outweigh the cost (the monthly expense in most instances being lower than the cable TV bill), the price can still seem to be high.
Several financing opportunities are available that can help you cover the cost, although not all options are available to each individual. Nevertheless, you should check with your hearing professional about some of these sources:
- private insurance (rare but worth asking about)
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Veterans Administration benefits
- charitable organizations
- state programs
- financing options (special healthcare credit arrangements)
4. How can I best adapt to my new hearing aids?
Once you’ve picked out your preferred hearing aids and have had them professionally fit, you can go home and instantly hear perfectly without any complications, correct?
Not exactly. Like anything new, you’ll need to have some time to adapt. You’ll be enjoying sounds you haven’t heard for some time, your voice may sound different, and the fit of the hearing aid may feel unpleasant. This is perfectly normal and expected, and will resolve itself in a short amount of time. You simply have to be patient.
Make sure that your hearing professional provides instructions on how to best adapt to your hearing aids, including how to control them and how to learn the features.
5. How do I maintain my hearing aids?
Hearing aids are sophisticated and dependable devices that should function reliably for many years. Still, they do necessitate consistent cleaning and care. Talk to your hearing professional about cleaning kits and procedures, storage solutions, accessories, and battery management.
In addition, it’s a wise decision to have your hearing specialist professionally clean your hearing aids one or two times a year.
As you start preparing for your hearing test, keep in mind that achieving the best outcome requires:
- comprehending your hearing loss
- matching your hearing loss and lifestyle to the right technology
- selecting an affordable solution based on your budget
- professionally fitting and programming your new hearing aids
- adapting to and taking care of your hearing aids
With the assistance of your community hearing care professional—and by asking the right questions—you can assure the best outcome and a lifetime of healthier hearing.