A Hearing Test: What to Expect – The Consultation

man suffering from tinnitus speaking with Audiologist during consultation at hearing clinic

Hearing Test Consultations

In this, the second in my series on what you should expect from a hearing test, I explain the first and arguably one of the most important stages in assessing your hearing rehabilitation needs; the consultation.

At a Glance

  1. Be prepared to answer a range of questions.
  2. Think carefully about your hearing concerns and where you experience the greatest challenges.
  3. Know what you want from the appointment.
  4. Trust your gut feeling and be on the lookout for sales tactics.
  5. Bringing someone you trust can help get a better outcome.

What to expect during the consultation

When first meeting a new clinician, you should expect to spend about 10-15 minutes discussing your current circumstances before even starting a hearing test. The clinician should ask you a range of standard questions about your general health, your hearing history, your current hearing experiences and your motivations for seeking expert advice. Most questions will be straightforward, but a good clinician will dig below the surface to tease out valuable information. This is where attending with a loved one can add valuable feedback to the conversation. The clinician should appear inquisitive and interested and never disengaged, dismissive or in a hurry to get on with the test. Check that you have a positive gut feel about the clinician and their style.

Consider this before starting a hearing test

Once this initial conversation is complete, the clinician will move on to the hearing test, so be sure to give some serious thought ahead of time to the following;

  • What situations do you find yourself trying harder to hear?
  • What is your history of noise exposure?
  • Have you experienced a sudden change in your hearing? When did it commence and how can you describe it?
  • What goals do you have in mind?

At A Better Ear, we approach each consultation with the same intention, to uncover and address the principal issues the patient is seeking our advice on.  Make sure your clinician does not assume they already know this. They must remain sharply focused on your needs to ensure the consultation is tailored to your motivations.

Hearing Test Red flags

Hearing aids can be costly items, and there will be a lot to take in during your appointment, so it’s important to fully prepare yourself ahead of time and be on guard for pitfalls.

Should you feel that your concerns are dismissed or not explored to your satisfaction, or you feel as if you have been misunderstood or not carefully considered, remember this and balance it with the clinician’s recommended solution. Ask yourself – do I understand what has been recommended to me and why? Has the clinician explained a range of options to me? And if applicable, what are my entitlements as a pensioner? If there is any doubt, ask for clarification.

It’s not uncommon in some chain-clinics to introduce or recommend a specific hearing aid during the early stages of an appointment, prior to the hearing test. Techniques of this kind are motivated by business managers with operational efficiency in mind. Or to put it another way, clinics who do this are designed to expedite the sales process. Instead consider a specialist healthcare service like A Better Ear, who diagnose hearing loss and provide hearing aids in the context of hearing rehabilitation and support.

If you feel something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.

In Conclusion

If you feel something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.

The initial consultation should build a foundation of trust allowing for an honest and open understanding between clinician and patient. It informs the direction of rehabilitation, provides clues to the clinician on your hearing health and provides points to return to once testing is complete. Together, through consultation, hearing goals are agreed upon allowing the Audiologist to focus their time on meeting on your needs, your budget, your best clinical treatment.

Once that foundation is laid, it’s time to get down to the examination and testing of the hearing system. I will address this in the following posts. Firstly, “Otoscopy and Tympanometry”, then “Pure Tone Audiogram”. Stay tuned!