When someone first realizes that their hearing loss is affecting their independence, safety and social relationships, they probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Before visiting an audiologist for the first time to have your hearing checked, you can prepare to ensure you feel comfortable and get the most out of your visit.
Do some research
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends doing a little research before you go to your appointment to help you prepare. Learn more about hearing loss, what causes it, what you can do to protect your remaining hearing and how your hearing loss can be treated. This will introduce you to some important terminology. Just remember to look at reputable sources. Some great and trustworthy sites to browse are the National Institute of Health’s site on hearing loss, and the Mayo Clinic’s information on hearing loss. But, it’s still important to see an audiologist to have your hearing concerns addressed.
Make a list of questions
Have you ever had a doctor’s appointment and then, immediately after leaving the office, realized that you completely forgot to mention one of your concerns or ask a question? Are you worried that your hearing loss will cause you to miss the time of an event because you don’t always hear very well on the phone? ASHA recommends that you make a list of the things you are worried about before visiting your audiologist.
Chances are, other patients’ have had this exact concern and the audiologist will have ideas for how to remedy your concern, such as using a captioned telephone or an amplified telephone so you don’t miss the details.
It’s normal for people to get nervous at a doctor’s appointment and forget to ask something important, so keep a list of your questions on hand. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reminds patients that questions are important because they help healthcare providers assess your concerns and give you the best care possible.
The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) says that for any health appointment, the three most important questions are these: “What is my main problem?, What do I need to do next?, Why is it important for me to do this?” Patients who know the answers to these questions have better health outcomes in general.
What to bring
For your first audiologist appointment, the UCSF audiology clinic and ASHA recommend that you bring the following things for a successful visit:
1. A list of questions and concerns to help you remember everything
2. A pen and paper to write down new information and words you don’t know
3. Your insurance coverage card
4. A referral request form, if necessary
5. Notes from your primary care doctor, if you have them (sometimes, doctors will just fax them to the audiologist)
6. A list of all medicines you are taking
7. Your spouse, a family member or a friend who might have questions you haven’t considered and can also take notes and offer support