Only a small percentage of those with hearing loss will actually seek any type of treatment, but those who do will notice a real improvement in their lives and their relationships. If you think you are dealing with a loss of hearing, you need to seek the advice and help of a professional. After an evaluation, they may refer you to a specialist who can look into your condition further. When it comes time to prepare for your appointment, there are a few things you can do to help the professional out.
• Make a list of any symptoms you have experienced in the past or present, as well as how long you have experienced them. Ask friends and family to help you with the list. Sometimes they may have noticed a change that is less obvious to you, but it might be a vital piece of information for the audiologist to know.
• Write down any imperative medical information, especially when it relates to any problems with your ears. They will need to know about any recurring infections, injuries to your ear or earlier surgeries. Make a list of any medications, supplements or vitamins you currently take.
• Summarize your complete work history, even a job years ago that might have exposed you to dangerously high levels of noise.
• Take a loved one to the appointment with you. Someone else in the room with you will help absorb everything they tell you and make sure you have as much information as possible.
• Write down any questions you have for the audiologist. Having a list of things in advance will help you maximize the amount of time you have with them.
When it comes to loss of hearing, some of the commonly asked questions are:
• Are there any specific tests that you can recommend?
• Other than the obvious causes, what else could be causing the symptoms I am experiencing?
• What are the potential symptoms or causes of my specific condition?
• Do I need to stop taking any medications?
Above all else, don't be afraid to ask questions of them. They are there to help you understand what's going on and develop a plan of treatment for you.
What Can You Expect from Them?
They are more than likely going to ask you quite a few questions as well. This helps gauge what might be going on, such as:
• Do you notice any problems with your balance or feelings of dizziness?
• Did the symptoms seem to come on all of a sudden?
• Can you describe the symptoms?
• Do you have a hissing, roaring or ringing in your ears?
• Are you susceptible to recurring ear infections or other ear problems?
• Have you worked in an environment that caused repeat exposure to loud noise levels?
• Are you on any medications currently?
• When someone speaks to you in a low voice, do you have problems hearing him or her?
• Are you continually asking others to speak louder when engaged in conversation?
• Can you hear a door when it closes?
• Are there any relatives affected by a loss of hearing?
Dr. Timothy Hunsaker has lived in the Las Vegas area since 2008. He is a graduate of Idaho State University and has had extensive training in the care and management of patients with hearing and balance disorders. He currently holds the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). For up-to-date hearing aid information visit Dr. Hunsakers blog.