5 Questions to Ask About Your Hearing Test Results

Ear Exam

Once your hearing test is complete, the hearing care provider will review the results with you. It’s normal to have questions. Here are a few you’ll want to be sure to ask.

1. What type of hearing loss do I have?

There are different types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells in the cochlea and is not reversible. It is permanent. Conductive hearing loss is caused when sound isn’t properly conducted from the outer ear into the inner ear. This type of hearing loss can sometimes be corrected by surgery or with medication. It is not always permanent. It’s important to understand what type of hearing loss you have to understand why you have hearing loss.

2. What does the audiogram mean?

The audiogram may look like an undecipherable graph with a series of Xs plotted on it, but to the hearing specialist it is a visual representation of your ability to hear. Ask the hearing care professional to explain to you the meaning of the different marks on the graph and what it means for your hearing ability. The hearing specialist will be happy to show you how the tones used during the hearing test are represented on your audiogram.

3. Does hearing loss affect both ears or just one?

It’s very important to know if you have unilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in one year) or bilateral hearing loss (hearing loss in both ears). Your brain depends on input from both ears to help you determine where a sound is originating. This is called localization. Localization helps keep you safe in traffic and helps you locate a speaker that calls your name. People with hearing loss may have different levels of hearing loss in each ear. If you have bilateral hearing loss, it’s important to wear two hearing aids.

4. Do I need hearing aids?

If the hearing test results indicate you have hearing loss, the hearing healthcare provider will review your options with you. If your hearing loss is extremely mild, assistive hearing devices (which are not hearing aids) may be all you need. If you have mild-to-moderate hearing loss, several hearing aid styles are available to help you. If you have severe to profound hearing loss, behind the ear hearing aids may be best. The hearing professional can match your hearing loss to the style of hearing aid that will provide you the most benefit.

5. What can I do to protect my hearing?

If you have hearing loss, it’s important to protect your remaining hearing ability. Ask the hearing specialist what you can do to protect your hearing. If the hearing loss was caused by noise exposure, ask about protective devices. If your hearing loss was caused by ototoxic drugs, ask about the alternatives available that may be friendlier to your ears and auditory nerves. The hearing care professional can help you with strategies and devices to protect your hearing.

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