Hearing loss often creeps up on us slowly over time. We start by turning the volume up on the TV, the phone and the radio. Over time it can progress to a point of frustration, as “What?” becomes a more constant word in our vocabulary. Before long, it can start to have a negative impact on our relationships and how we function.
What can I do?:
If you suspect you have hearing loss, the first step is to get evaluated by a professional. Always bring a friend or family member along with you as a companion. It’s always helpful to have another set of ears and to have someone to discuss the results with afterwards.
If you have never had your hearing tested before, it’s best to start with a visit to an otolaryngologist, also known as ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. These are doctors who have completed advanced education in ear, nose and throat conditions. Your primary care provider can refer you to someone, or you can ask friends for recommendations.
What to expect:
- At the appointment, you will first meet with an audiologist who will perform a full hearing test in a soundproof booth.
- Once the test is complete the otolaryngologist (ENT Doctor) will meet with you to perform a medical evaluation, review the hearing test and help you understand the potential cause of your loss.
- The doctor will also determine whether there is anything that can be done medically or surgically to treat your hearing loss.
- If there isn’t anything medically that can be done, the doctor will have you meet back with the audiologist for counseling on potential solutions that can help improve your hearing.
Interpreting your results:
- The test results from the hearing test are called an audiogram. The audiogram will show what type of loss you have, the range of your loss and how well you understand words. The audiologist will use the audiogram to help you better understand your hearing loss.
- A good audiologist will make sure you understand hearing aids, implantable options and surgical options that might be available to you.
- Before you leave the appointment get a copy of the test to take with you for your own records. In order to find out if you might be a potential candidate for the Esteem, and other potential solutions, this is a test that could be reviewed to understand what your options might be.
- You should leave the appointment with some educational materials and can now begin to think about what option might be a good fit for you.
- Resist the desire to make a decision on a new solution right away. You should never feel pressured to make an immediate decision.
- As you think about what options might be of interest to you, remember there are some options you can try. For example, you can try various hearing aids for 30 days in most states and return the hearing aid if you don’t like it, or want to try a different one.
- Implantable technologies require some additional research and involve finding and meeting with a doctor that works with these specific technologies to better understand the solution.
There is currently no cure for the most common type of hearing loss: sensorineural hearing loss. However, there are many options that will help improve your hearing and your quality of life. It’s important to take the time to consider what might be the best fit for your lifestyle.
For more information on how Esteem may be able to help you or a loved one, contact us today.