Hearing loss is more common than many people think. Although it affects people of all ages, it is more prevalent among senior citizens. One in every three seniors has hearing loss to some degree. However, when is it time to see an audiologist? You may have started increasing the volume on the TV. You may occasionally nod when people ask you questions rather than have them repeat themselves. These situations do not happen often, so how much is too much?
Basically, if you have to ask yourself if it is time, it already is time. Fortunately, you can easily find a high-quality Scottsdale audiologist. Or, if you’re closer to Mesa, then a Mesa audiologist. Of course, you may be unsure if an audiologist is necessary. Here are some considerations to weigh.
If One of the Following Scenarios Applies
Many people with hearing loss experience issues in at least one of the areas below. Take a look to see if any apply.
- A hard time hearing on the phone, in restaurants and/or in noisy environments
- Difficulty understanding women, children, multiple speakers and/or group conversations
- Feeling that many people around you are mumbling
- Straining too much to understand conversations
- Better hearing in one ear
- People saying that your TV volume is too high
- People claiming that you missed or misunderstood what they said
- Often asking people to repeat themselves
- Dizziness, pain or ringing in the ears
If one (or more) of these issues seems familiar, you are far from alone. It still may feel daunting to consider professional help through an audiologist. The next section has tips to help you prepare.
By the way, some people think an audiologist visit is pointless because they cannot afford hearing aids. If you feel this way, still make an appointment. There are charities and organizations that help people of all ages afford hearing aids. Plus, it is possible that your hearing difficulties stem from medications or from an issue such as earwax buildup. Hearing aids might not be necessary.
Preparations for Your Audiologist Appointment
Start preparing early for your audiologist appointment. For example, if you need a foreign language interpreter or a sign language interpreter, request one as early as possible. Choose someone to go with you. This person could be a spouse, child, other relative or friend. Pick someone you are comfortable with and who is good at taking notes and remembering what medical professionals say.
You probably have questions (lots!), so write them down, or record them on your phone as they occur to you. That way, you will remember to ask the audiologist everything. Your medical history is another thing to have ready. For that, include the following:
- Your hearing issues/symptoms, how long they have been occurring, where they occur and where they affect/bother you most
- Any previous ear-related issues such as a history of infections, surgeries or exposure to noisy environments
- Medications and supplements you are taking (as touched on above, some cause hearing loss)
- Your general medical history
Treatments such as chemotherapy put people at more risk of hearing loss, so include what you can. The audiologist may have paperwork for you to fill out. Refer to your medical history document to make it go faster.
During the Appointment
The audiologist uses an otoscope to assess your ears. This inspection can catch problems such as earwax buildup. Next, you undergo testing, but the specific procedures vary from clinic to clinic. For example, a Surprise audiologist may do a pressure test on your eardrum, while a Peoria audiologist does only a speech comprehension test and a tone test for pitches. Your audiogram shows the results of tone testing.
What the audiologist does next depends on the test results. Hearing aids may be the recommendation, or you could be referred to another type of specialist. The audiologist may say that your hearing seems OK but to come back in a few months. In any case, you may encounter jargon you do not understand. Follow these tips:
- Ask the audiologist to write down and explain any complicated words.
- Repeat what the audiologist says if there is any chance you have misunderstood.
- Have the audiologist tell you in plain language what your main problem is, what you should do and why it is important.
- Ask the audiologist what is the best way to contact him or her, and get contact information.
Many audiologists are fine if you record your visit, so ask yours if that is possible.
After the Appointment
Chat with the person who accompanied you. Ensure both of you have the same understanding of what happened, what the problem is (if any) and the possible solutions. If hearing aids are recommended, research them and evaluate the features you must have and which are optional.
Many people have their hearing tested after months of missing out on parties, loved ones and conversations at work. If you feel left out, misunderstood, isolated or irritated, it is time to see the audiologist.