Your first hearing check is coming up. What should you expect?
Getting your hearing tested is not something that is done annually like going to the eye doctor or getting a checkup, unless necessary. Now, it is a law that every newborn gets a hearing screen prior to leaving the hospital. Most elementary school-age children also get their hearing screen at least once during this period, however it is not mandated nor guaranteed. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA, states “you should have your hearing checked at least once every 10 years up to the age of 50. Then you should have your hearing screened every 3 years” (asha.org). Let’s go through how your first hearing check should go!
Before the appointment: It would be a good idea to figure out what you need to go see an audiologist or hearing care professional. If the professional asks “why are you here?” and you say “I have hearing loss” that does not do any good. Figure out when you noticed the hearing loss started; whether it was gradual or from a specific situation. It would also be a good idea to gather information on hearing and non-hearing related diseases and disorders in your family.
At the appointment: The professional will ask appropriate questions about your hearing and lifestyle. If you did your homework prior to the appointment, it will go very smoothly. Then you will be put in a soundproof room, which is where the testing will be conducted. Although the room virtually has no noise come in and no noise go out, you will still be about to speak back and forth with the professional because the room has microphone it is. The professional will give you the proper instruction on how they will conduct the testing. For the most part you will wear insert earphones or headphones, and indicate you hear the tone by pressing a button or raising a hand. The tones will change in noise from low to high and soft to loud. Another test you may encounter is saying the word you hear back to the audiologist. Based on your results the testing will be over or the professional will have inconclusive results and administer other tests.
Once you have completed testing, the professional will go over all of the results with you. While they were administering the tests, they were also keeping track of what you did and did not miss. The most common way for the audiologist or hearing care professional to visually show you your result is on an audiogram. The audiogram will show you based on ear specific results, where your hearing stands. It will also help determine next steps. The professional will then make a judgement on if you need hearing aids or not or if something else is recommended.
After the appointment: It is up to you take the suggestion of the professional. Do your research on the result of your testing and determine what the next best steps for you would be.
While it may sound a bit scary to get your hearing checked, it really is not all that bad!