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What Happens During an Audiologist Appointment?

a hearing examination in progress

Your audiologist is the expert on all things hearing and ear health that you might need. They can provide a wide range of routine treatments but, most often, they help people get a better understanding of their range of hearing and, if necessary, diagnose and treat hearing loss.

Here, we’re going to take a look at what you can expect when you arrange your first appointment with the audiologist. These are the standard steps taken to get a better idea of your hearing and ear health.

Getting to know you

At first, the team at the front desk will welcome you to the practice, asking to take a range of details. These are mostly to help us keep a record of any visits and make sure your insurance information is okay. Then, the audiologist will invite you to their office to get to know you and your hearing health history personally.

It’s a good idea to bring your medical history, including a record of medication you are or have recently been on, as well as any family history of hearing and ear issues. The audiologist will ask about your lifestyle and work to help better get an idea of risk factors that might affect your hearing. All of this information is used to help them make more accurate diagnoses and recommendations.

Taking a look at the ear

The audiologist will go through several steps to get to know your hearing and ear health, the first of which is a visual examination of the outer ear. This often makes use of an otoscope, a handheld device that uses a magnifying scope to take a look into the outer ear canal. This is a comfortable and simple process and you shouldn’t feel anything more than the cool surface of the device against your ear.

With it, the audiologist will take a closer look at the ear. This can help them spot a range of risk factors, such as the symptoms of an ear infection and any earwax buildup that might be causing unpleasant symptoms. Depending on what they see, the audiologist might recommend treatment right there and then, or they might proceed with a hearing test.

The hearing test

If there are no actions to take immediately after the visual examination of the ear, the audiologist will recommend a hearing test. Even if you have no issues with your hearing, this is often done just to get a baseline measurement of your hearing that they can test against later to see if there are any changes in the future.

Hearing tests are designed to help get a better understanding of the entire range of your hearing. They usually involved being placed in a soundproof environment, such as a booth. You may be asked to wear headphones or there may be a speaker in there. The audiologist will observe while testing your hearing in a range of ways.

One way is the tone test, which involves hearing a range of different tones at different volumes, pitches and directions. The audiologist will ask you to confirm that you hear each tone, either verbally or by pressing a button.

The speech test is similar to the tone test, only differing in that it involves hearing words and sentences rather than tones. Again, the voice will be at different tones, pitches and the audiologist may also play different levels of background noise. 

Together, these tests provide the results that are read on an audiogram, a graphic that shows the range of your hearing and whether or not you fall into the range that is considered a clear sign of hearing loss.

After the test

Following your hearing test, the audiologist will go over the results of the test as displayed on the audiogram. With these results, they will be able to diagnose if there is any hearing loss, what type it is, how severe it is and they may be able to identify some causes. Whether you have hearing loss or not, your audiologist will make recommendations on any future appointments you will have with them. For those with hearing loss, this may include recommending selecting and fitting a hearing aid. 
 
The above steps are how the audiologist gets a better idea of your hearing and ear health, with the intention of diagnosing and treating any issues, be it from hearing loss, tinnitus or something else. To learn more about Ahadassah Kupfer, Au.D and how the team can help you, get in touch at 917-791-1510.