Congratulations on taking the initial step toward healthier hearing by booking your hearing exam. You’re already ahead of the game, as a great number of people delay having their hearing tested for several years—in some cases decades.
But now that you’ve booked your hearing test, you’ll want to ensure that you’re prepared for the visit, particularly if test results show that you might benefit from hearing aids. Purchasing hearing aids can be difficult, but if you ask the right questions, your hearing care specialist can help point you to the ideal technology.
To achieve the best hearing you can, make sure to ask these five questions at your upcoming hearing test.
1. What type of hearing loss do I have?
Your hearing care professional will test your hearing using the latest technology, and the results of the test will be printed on a chart called an audiogram. Ensure that your hearing professional reviews the audiogram with you and discusses:
- The type and severity of your hearing loss. High-frequency hearing loss is most common, and is further classified as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
- How hearing aids can help, and if and why you’d require hearing aids for one or both ears. Hearing loss in both ears is most effectively treated with two hearing aids, and the audiogram will display the results for both ears.
2. Which hearing aid is best for my needs?
Each patient’s hearing loss and listening needs are unique. The more your hearing professional knows about your lifestyle, the better they can prescribe the appropriate technology.
If you’re particularly active, for instance, you may give thought to the most up-to-date hearing aid technology with wireless capabilities. If you don’t need all of the special features, however, a more practical option is likely a better fit.
3. What are my financing options?
Next up is everyone’s least popular subject—price. Although you should take into account that the benefits of hearing aids far outnumber the cost (the monthly cost in most instances being lower than the cable TV bill), the price can still seem high.
Several financing opportunities are available that can help cover the cost, although not all options are available to each individual. Nevertheless, you should talk to your hearing professional about some of these options:
- private insurance (uncommon but worth asking about)
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Veterans Administration benefits
- charitable organizations
- state programs
- financing options (special healthcare credit arrangements)
4. How can I most effectively adjust to my new hearing aids?
After you’ve picked out your preferred hearing aids and have had them expertly fit, you can return home and immediately hear perfectly without any problems, correct?
Not exactly. Just like anything new, you’ll need some time to adjust. You’ll be experiencing sounds you haven’t heard for some time, your voice may sound different, and the fit may feel awkward. This is perfectly normal and expected, and will take care of itself in a short amount of time. You just have to be patient.
Make sure your hearing professional provides guidelines on how to best adapt to your hearing aids, including how to control them and how to learn the features.
5. How do I take care of my hearing aids?
Hearing aids are complex and dependable products that should operate reliably for many years. Even so, they do require habitual cleaning and care. Consult with your hearing professional about cleaning kits and procedures, storage solutions, accessories, and battery management.
Also, it’s a good idea to have your hearing specialist professionally clean your hearing aids a few times a year.
As you prepare yourself for your hearing test, keep in mind that obtaining the best outcome requires:
- comprehending your hearing loss
- coordinating your hearing loss and lifestyle to the right technology
- choosing an affordable solution based on your budget
- professionally fitting and programming your new hearing aids
- adjusting to and taking care of your hearing aids
With the help of your local hearing care professional—and by asking the right questions—you can ensure the best outcome and a life of healthier hearing.