18 Important Questions to Ask an Audiologist

Audiologist Hearing Check
Hearing loss is detrimental to both physical and emotional wellbeing. Untreated hearing loss can cause anxiety, difficulty working, paranoia, depression and more. Knowing what questions to ask your audiologist can seem overwhelming. When you are already dealing with hearing loss, it may be hard to remember all the questions you want to ask. Here are some of the most common questions asked during a visit to an audiologist.

1. How do you check for hearing loss?

Diagnosing hearing loss may start with your primary healthcare provider. They will perform a physical exam by looking into your ear. Your provider will look for possible causes. This could include signs of an infection or ear wax buildup, and also any structural causes.
 
They may perform general screening tests and simple tuning fork tests. A tuning fork is a two-pronged, metal instrument that produces sound when struck. This test may show if hearing loss is from damage to the vibrating parts of your middle ear and eardrum. It could also be from damage to inner ear nerves, or damage to both. Your provider may refer you to an audiologist who will perform more thorough testing.

2. What is an audiologist?

Audiologists are doctorate-level health care professionals. They check for, diagnose, treat and manage hearing loss and balance disorders. They work with both adults and children. Audiologists can determine the type of your hearing loss and the degree.

3. How do I read the hearing test?

The audiologist can describe the test results to you. They will help you if you need a hearing device, such as a hearing aid. Some audiologists also may sell and offer hearing aid fitting services. They do this right in the office.

4. How often should I have a hearing test?

Your audiologist will base this on your test results, type of hearing loss, and if you need hearing aids. The amount of testing varies by patient.

5. What kind of hearing loss do I have?

Knowing the type of hearing loss helps determine which treatment you need. It also helps determine how to protect your hearing going forward. There are three main types of hearing loss:
  • Sensorineural hearing loss. This is the most common type of hearing loss. This means there is a problem with the tiny hairs that convert sound waves to electricity,. There could also be damage with the nerve that sends electrical impulses to the brain
  • Conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is a problem conducting sound waves from the environment to the inner ear
  • Mixed hearing loss. In mixed hearing loss, both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present

6. How much hearing loss do I have?

The results from your hearing test are on an audiogram. This is a graph that shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different pitches or frequencies. The measurements this test uses are decibels (dBs). Audiologists use general terms to classify the degree of hearing loss. These are normal, mild, moderate, severe, and profound. The audiogram indicates these different degrees of hearing loss.

7. Is my hearing loss permanent?

Sensorineural hearing loss is due to aging and noise exposure. This hearing loss is permanent because the small hair cells in the inner ear died and there is no way to fix them. This type of hearing loss is the most common type. Some permanent hearing loss may be present at birth or due to damage caused by infection.

8. What caused my hearing loss?

Some people are born with hearing loss. Most people experience progressive permanent hearing loss later in life. This can be due to aging and daily noise exposure (sensorineural hearing loss). Other causes of hearing loss include genetics, ear infections, medicines, and head trauma.

9. Can you tell me if my hearing loss will change or get worse?

The aging process and noise exposure can make hearing loss worse. There are simple preventive measures you can take to guard your hearing. Your audiologist will discuss your specific situation with you. They can provide you with more information based on your lifestyle.

10. Do both ears have the same hearing loss?

Your right eye might have a different prescription than your left. The same principle applies to hearing loss. One ear might have more hearing loss than the other, and each ear hears at a different level than the other. The right ear affects your reasoning abilities, logic and speech. Your left ear affects receiving music information, intuition and emotion.

11. Do I need hearing aids?

People with severe hearing loss need hearing aids to hear and understand speech. Without them, most conversation and use of telephones will be hard. Profound hearing loss causes an inability to hear speech, even if it is loud. People with profound hearing loss need hearing aids or cochlear implants. Your audiologist will discuss your test results with you. If you need hearing aids, they will let you know.
 
You may experience more hearing loss in one ear. In some cases, you may not need a hearing aid for both ears. The Better Hearing Institute says that about 90% of patients need hearing aids in both ears. It is still more likely you will need both.

12. What kind of hearing aids would work best for me?

The more information you can provide your audiologist about your lifestyle, the better. They can help you choose the right kind of aid that fits both your type of hearing loss and your daily activities. You may want to list your daily, weekly, and monthly activities. Include recreational and social habits as well as your work environment.

13. How much do hearing aids cost?

The cost of hearing aids is a wide range . Note that your hearing aid cost may cover much more than the devices themselves. They can include hearing tests, consultation, and fitting. It can also include follow-up visits and adjustments, cleanings and a warranty. The main factor is the sophisticated level of technology and the features. Ask about all available options as the prices will differ. You may not want or need all the features included with a more expensive model.

14. Are there extra costs besides the hearing aids?

You can include follow-up care in the cost of your hearing aid. Some audiologists include adjustments, repairs and batteries. This is a good question to ask up front as it may impact your choice of hearing center or provider.

15. Are hearing aids covered by insurance?

Not all insurance plans cover the cost of hearing aids. You may want to ask about this with your insurance company up front. That allows you to talk about payment options with your provider if insurance is not an option.

16. How long will my hearing aids last? Do they wear out?

Hearing aids will wear out. Your audiologist cannot predict when this might happen, but they may be able to give you a good estimate. It’s also important to know how you need to care for your hearing aids. You want to make them last as long as possible.

17. Do the hearing aids have a warranty?

Different manufacturers offer different warranties. Depending on the warranty, you may want to buy extra insurance. Call your insurance company to make sure they cover lost or stolen hearing aids on your home owner’s policy.

18. How often do you need to check or adjust the hearing aids?

You may need a few check-ups to adjust your hearing aids to best tailor them to your needs. Each hearing center and each case will be different based on the patient.