Whether or not you’re visiting a hearing clinic to get your hearing aids for the first time, or just to do a simple hearing test, it’s good to know what to expect when you step into one. In this blog article, we’ll share with you what you need to know and what to expect when you visit a hearing clinic for the first time.
One thing to know before you visit a clinic…
Almost all hearing aid clinics require you to book an appointment before visiting them, because consultations take about 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete, and if a lot of customers visited them at a similar timing, they likely wouldn’t have enough staff and audiologists to cater to them. So these clinics work based on an appointment system.
So if you intend to visit a clinic, make sure to call or message them before you make a visit. Of course, walk-ins are completely acceptable too, but don’t expect to be able to see an audiologist all the time because they might be busy with other people.
So I’m at a hearing aid clinic now. What’s next?
Congratulations! You have booked an appointment with the clinic and arrived on time. Or the audiologist happened to have no appointments booked for your time slot. You’re in luck!
Either way, since it’s your first time at the clinic, a staff will first pass you a registration form for you to fill up your personal and contact details. This lets the clinic keep track of their patients if they ever revisit them in the future for a smoother registration and consultation process.
After you’re done filling up the form, the staff will key in your details into their system and you can talk to your audiologist soon.
Consultation session with your Audiologist
Assuming you’re visiting a hearing aid clinic for the right reasons, your audiologist will ask you about your hearing concerns first. This includes how long your hearing loss issue has been for, any symptoms you’re experiencing, medical history etc. This is often followed by a quick painless check of the inside of your ear with an otoscope.
This is part of the diagnosis process of the consultation – that is to allow your audiologist to be able to accurately identify the cause of your hearing loss and possibly its type.
The Hearing Test
Next, you would have to do a hearing test, known as Pure Tone Audiometry (PTA). This test is completely painless, and is one of the most common hearing tests conducted to get a good understanding of your degree and type of hearing loss. Different degrees of hearing loss range from mild, moderate, severe, and profound, while types of hearing loss include sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, or mixed.
During the PTA, you would be required to put on a set of headphones inside a soundproof room, and your audiologist will be seated outside of the room to play you a series of sounds (like beeps) with different frequencies and volumes to test your hearing. Higher frequency sounds sound higher pitched, while lower frequency sounds sound lower pitched or deeper.
The test will begin at a particular frequency level and volume for only one of your ears first. You would be instructed by your audiologist beforehand that every time you hear a sound, you would have to press a button that’s connected to the headphones. By pressing the button, your audiologist will know that you were able to hear sounds at that particular frequency level and volume.
Whenever you’re able to hear the sound, your audiologist will lower the volume and play the sound to you again. Conversely, if you’re not able to hear the sound, your audiologist will raise the volume and play the sound to you again. Throughout the hearing test, the audiologist will try to pinpoint the lowest possible volume of the sound that you’re able to hear. For example, at a frequency of 800hz, 30dB is the softest volume you could hear consistently, so your audiologist will record that down.
This series of playing sounds to your headphones will be repeated for 5 more sound frequencies for a total of 6 recordings. After one side of your ear is done, your other ear will be tested. After that, PTA is completed, and your audiologist will create a graph (also called an audiogram) to help you visualize your degree of hearing loss. The whole process should take about 20 minutes.
Hearing test results review
Depending on how your audiogram turned out, your audiologist will inform you what your hearing loss issue is, as well as its degree and type. This is where your audiologist will also educate you more on your specific hearing issue, and recommend you the right pair of hearing aids to help relieve your condition.
There are many different types of hearing aids, including Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids, In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids, and Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids. Most of these hearing aids cater to people with mild to moderate hearing loss, but also works just fine for people with severe to profound hearing losses. Again, your audiologist will explain to you the different options that works best for you and guide you through the selection process.
Hearing Aid purchase
If you’ve decided on your hearing aid, you would have to revisit the clinic at least twice for follow-up hearing aid fitting and adjustment. This makes sure that your hearing aid is helping you hear sounds clearly and properly. Unlike a pair of spectacles, hearing aids are sophisticated electronic devices that need refining.
If you haven’t decided to commit to a purchase, clinics will offer a trial period for you to try out your hearing aids first, for a fee, of course.
Conclusion – What happens next then? With your new hearing aids, make sure to regularly clean and maintain them so that you can extend their lifespan. Properly maintained hearing aids can last up to 5 years – something you want to make sure so that your hearing devices can properly amplify sounds that you would otherwise be missing out on. If you’re looking for high-quality care in an environment that feels like home, then The Hearing Centre is the best place for hearing aids in Singapore.