Congratulations on taking the first step toward better hearing by booking your hearing exam. You’re already ahead of the game, as a large number of people delay getting a hearing test for many years—in some instances decades.
But now that you’ve arranged your hearing test, you’ll want to ensure that you’re prepared for the appointment, particularly if test results show that you might benefit from hearing aids. Purchasing hearing aids can be challenging, but if you ask the right questions, your hearing care specialist can help lead you to the ideal technology.
To achieve the best hearing possible, remember to ask these five questions at your upcoming hearing test.
1. What kind 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 diagram called an audiogram. Make sure your hearing professional reviews the audiogram with you and explains:
- The form and degree of your hearing loss. High-frequency hearing loss is most common, and is classified as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.
- How hearing aids will help, and if and why you’d require hearing aids for one or both ears. Hearing loss in both ears is best treated with two hearing aids, and the audiogram will demonstrate the results for both ears.
2. Which hearing aid is best for my needs?
Every patient’s hearing loss and listening needs are unique. The more your hearing professional knows about your lifestyle, the better they can suggest the appropriate technology.
If you’re particularly active, for example, you may give thought to the latest hearing aid technology with wireless capabilities. If you don’t need all of the bells and whistles, however, a more practical alternative is probably a better fit.
3. What are my options for financing?
Next up is everyone’s least favorite topic—price. Although you should take into account that the benefits of hearing aids far surpass the cost (the monthly cost in most cases being less than the cable TV bill), the price can still seem high.
A number of financing possibilities are available that can help you cover the expense, although not all options are available to each individual. Even so, you should check with your hearing professional about some of these resources:
- 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 adapt to my new hearing aids?
Once you’ve picked out your preferred hearing aids and have had them professionally fit, you can go back home and immediately hear perfectly without any complications, right?
Not exactly. Just like anything new, you’ll require some time to adjust. You’ll be hearing sounds you haven’t heard in a long while, 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 simply have to be patient.
See to it that your hearing professional provides tips on how to best adjust to your hearing aids, including how to operate them and how to master the features.
5. How do I take care of my hearing aids?
Hearing aids are high-tech and dependable devices that should function reliably for years. Still, they do require regular cleaning and care. Ask your hearing professional about cleaning kits and practices, storage solutions, accessories, and battery management.
Additionally, it’s a wise decision to have your hearing practitioner professionally clean your hearing aids one or two times a year.
As you start preparing for your hearing test, keep in mind that achieving the best outcome requires:
- understanding your hearing loss
- matching your hearing loss and lifestyle to the right technology
- finding 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 assistance of your local hearing care professional—and by asking the right questions—you can assure the best outcome and a lifetime of better hearing.