Your audiologist is an integral member of your health care team. Asking the right questions can improve your hearing health outcomes. When choosing an audiologist and audiology clinic, here are our top 5 questions to ask at your first visit.
1. What type of hearing loss do I have?
At your first visit, your audiologist will likely conduct a hearing examination. The results of the test will indicate the type of hearing loss you are experiencing. Most commonly, it will be either sensorineural, conductive, or mixed hearing loss. Your audiologist should be able to explain the type of hearing loss you are experiencing, the likely causes, and your treatment options.
They should also be able to give you an idea of how your hearing loss may progress over time. If they suspect your hearing loss was caused by external factors, they may be able to provide you with suggestions on how to prevent further damage.
2. What services do you offer?
Many audiology clinics provide more services than just hearing tests and hearing aids. Audiologists can help treat tinnitus and vertigo or balance disorders. They can also offer suggestions for coping with hearing loss and improving quality of life. They are great resources regarding captioned phones, and other devices that can benefit people with hearing loss.
Another service that may matter to you is whether or not the clinic provides remote services. Patients with limited mobility, transportation issues, or simply a busy lifestyle may value a provider that can conduct services over the internet. Some clinics, such as ours, also offer in-home care. Our clinic has mobile equipment that can be brought into the patient’s own home.
3. Do I need hearing aids?
Not everyone with hearing loss will benefit from hearing aids. For example, many causes of conductive hearing loss will not benefit from treatment with hearing aids. Your audiologist should be able to explain whether or not hearing aids would benefit your specific case.
Some audiology clinics have demo sets of hearing aids that patients can take home with them. For example, our clinic often allows patients to demo hearing aids for one to two weeks at a time. This way, the patient can experience what life with hearing aids would be like before they invest in hearing aids.
4. What is included in the price of the hearing aids?
The answer to this question will vary widely from clinic to clinic. Some clinics bundle a lifetime of follow-up services into the price of the hearing aids. Some will include an annual supply of batteries, wax filters, and dome tips. Other clinics will not include anything beyond the devices themselves in the price.
In order to accurately compare hearing aid prices, knowing the answer to this question is essential.
At Merit Hearing, the hearing aid price includes the devices, the hearing aid evaluation, the hearing aid fitting & orientation, and the first year of follow-up services. After that, patients will pay per visit. We believe this is the most fair and transparent model. For more details, please visit the Unbundled Care vs. Bundled Care section of our website.
5. When should I return for my next visit?
Based on your hearing loss and your previous experience with hearing aids, the audiologist will make a recommendation for follow-up. After getting new hearing aids, expect to come in a few times during the first year for additional adjustments. Beyond that, most patients only require visits every 6-12 months, unless they are experiencing issues.
Repeat hearing evaluations are typically conducted every one to two years unless the patient has noticed a significant change in their hearing. At our clinic, we teach every patient basic hearing aid care and maintenance, so that they can conduct routine care at home. With good home maintenance, professional hearing aid cleanings are required less frequently.
Understanding your hearing results and your treatment options is essential. We encourage our patients to ask questions and to take an active role in their hearing health. Are there other important questions to ask your audiologist that we missed? Let us know in the comments!