It’s human nature to fear change – even when it leads to a positive outcome. If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss in La Verne and referred to an audiologist, you are likely to be a little nervous your first time – especially if you have never been around others with impaired hearing. A little anxiety is normal, but if you know what to expect before your appointment, you’ll be better prepared.
Relax – Your Audiologist Won’t Bite!
Audiologists are health care professionals trained to evaluate and treat hearing and balance disorders. They use a variety of tests and procedures to measure hearing and balance function and to fit and dispense hearing aids and are passionate about helping people just like you enjoy a higher quality of life. You might say they’ve got your back – as well as your ears!
The first time you visit your La Verne audiologist, you can expect the following:
- Paperwork. Much like death and taxes, paperwork is inevitable any time you visit a medical clinic for the first time. You’ll fill out forms requesting information on your medical history, medications you are taking and hearing concerns you are having. Be sure to bring along photo identification and health insurance information.
- Physical exam. Your audiologist will thoroughly examine your ears using a lighted instrument known as an otoscope. They will be looking for abnormalities or medical conditions that might be interfering with your hearing. Sometimes, something as simple as too much earwax can cause hearing problems.
- Hearing screening. In order to understand the full scope of your hearing impairment, you will undergo a hearing screening – a series of tests used to measure the type and degree of hearing loss in order to determine a treatment plan. All are completely safe and painless. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be given any of the following tests:
- Pure Tone Audiometry. Also known as air conduction testing, pure tone audiometry measures your ability to hear sounds at various pitches and volumes. Results are charted on an audiogram.
- Bone Conduction Testing. Bone conduction testing measures your inner ear’s response to sound. Results are compared to your air conduction results to help determine your type of hearing loss.
- Speech Testing. This simple test measures your speech reception threshold (SRT), the faintest speech you can understand 50 percent of the time. You will be asked to repeat words and phrases delivered in both quiet and noisy environments to determine your ability to separate speech from background noise.
- Tympanometry. This test measures the movement of your eardrum in response to air pressure and can indicate the presence of excess earwax, an eardrum perforation or a benign tumor.
- Acoustic Reflex Testing. Acoustic reflex testing measures involuntary muscle contractions of the middle ear to help pinpoint the type and location of your hearing impairment.
- Auditory Brainstem Response. ABR testing is used to confirm sensorineural hearing loss – the most common type, which affects the inner ear. It is often used in newborn hearing screenings, as well.
- Otoacoustic Emissions. OAEs are faint souds produced by the cochlea in response to stimulation. This test is used to check for blockages in the ear canal, excess fluid in the middle ear or damage to the hair cells of the cochlea. It is also used frequently in newborn hearing screenings.
It will take a little while for your La Verne audiologist to go over the results of your hearing screening and create an individualized treatment plan, so that should do it for your first visit. You can expect a follow-up visit soon to discuss options and answer any questions you might have. That wasn’t so bad now, was it?