You’re a pretty busy person, so it’s understandable that you totally forgot about the hearing test you have scheduled for tomorrow. Thankfully, you just got that reminder text from the clinic, and you still have a few hours to prepare. So… what should you do?
Hearing tests aren’t like those days in college or high school where you’d have to pull an all-nighter to study for an exam. Preparing for a hearing test is more about thinking through your symptoms and making sure you don’t forget anything. In other words, preparing for your hearing test is really about making sure you get as much out of your time with your hearing specialist as possible.
Here are 7 easy ways to get yourself prepped and ready!
1. Make a list of your symptoms (and when they occur)
Hearing loss doesn’t present the same way for everyone all the time. Some symptoms may be more prominent than others. So, before your appointment, it’s a good idea to start taking some notes on when your hearing loss is most noticeable. You can jot things down like:
- Was it difficult to hear the television? How high is the volume on your television? And do you notice that it’s harder to hear at night than in the morning?
- Did you have trouble following a conversation while dining out in a crowded restaurant? If so, how often does that happen?
- Do you find yourself losing focus during meetings at work? Does this tend to happen in the morning? All day?
- Is it challenging to have conversations on the phone? Keep track of times when it’s harder to understand people than normal.
This type of information is very useful for your hearing specialist. If you can, note the time and date these instances occurred. If you can’t, just note that they did occur.
2. Research hearing aids
How much do you really know about hearing aids? It’s an important question because you don’t want to make any decisions based on what you think you know. If your hearing specialist tells you a hearing aid would be beneficial, that’s going to be a great moment to ask informed questions.
Knowing what types of hearing devices are out there–and what your preferences might be can help speed along the process and help you get better answers.
3. Review your medical history
This is another moment when writing something down can help speed up the post-hearing-test-discussion. Before your appointment, you should take some time to write down your medical history. This should include both major and minor incidents. You should note things like:
- Major or minor surgical procedures that you have undergone.
- Medications you’re currently taking
- Any history of illness or disease (you don’t have to note every cold, but anything that stands out)
- Medical devices you may currently use
- Medication interactions and allergies
4. Avoid loud noises and noisy environments
If you go to a loud rock concert the day before your hearing test, it’s going to skew the results. Likewise, if you go to an airshow the morning before your test, the results will not be accurate. You can see where we’re going with this: you want to protect your ears from loud noises before your hearing test. This will help ensure your results are accurate and reflect your current hearing health.
5. Check with your insurance beforehand
The way that health insurance and hearing tests interact can be… confusing. Some plans might cover your hearing exam, especially if it’s part of a medical condition. But other plans might not. It’s a good idea to get all of this squared away before your appointment, so you’re more confident about what you can expect. In some cases, you can work directly with your hearing specialist to get insurance answers. Otherwise, you can speak to your insurance company directly.
6. Ask someone to come with you
Bringing a loved one or trusted friend with you to a hearing appointment isn’t strictly necessary, but it can offer several benefits. Among the most prominent are the following:
- You’re likely to cover a lot of information during your appointment. Having a trusted friend or loved one with you can help you remember all of that information later.
- You don’t always know when your hearing isn’t working right but it’s a good bet your spouse or partner does! This means your hearing specialist will have access to even more information to help make an accurate diagnosis or exam.
7. Be ready for your results
With many medical diagnostics, it may be days or weeks before you get your results. But that’s not the case with a hearing test. Just like the bubble-sheet tests that got fed through the scantron machine when you were in college, you get your results right away.
And better yet, your hearing specialist will walk you through what your results mean and how you can improve your overall hearing health. Maybe that’s a hearing aid, maybe it’s some changes to your behavior or some hearing protection. Either way, you’ll know it immediately.
So, you don’t need to cram for your hearing test. But it is helpful–mostly for you–to be prepared!