What to Expect at Your Appointment.
After doing your research to find a hearing instrument professional that you are comfortable working with, you will make your first appointment. During this first visit, you will be asked to complete a new patient packet which varies from office to office. You will be requested basic information about yourself, your hearing problems, and other relevant information to help the dispenser provide you with the best possible solution to your hearing needs. You will also be answering questions about what the FDA calls the 8 Red Flags. The answers to these questions will help to determine if you are eligible for a hearing assessment or if you must first see a medical doctor.
After the paperwork is complete, the hearing evaluation will begin. The dispenser will first look in your ears to make sure you are a candidate for the hearing assessment. They will be looking for wax in the canal as well as any other items that might prohibit them from doing the assessment. The dispenser must be able to visualize the eardrum in order to do the assessment.
After visual inspection of the eardrum and outer ear, they will proceed with a series of steps to evaluate your ability to hear tones and speech in each ear. You may be placed in a sound proof booth or a quiet room the remainder of the assessment. The dispenser will first place a soft foam tip in your canal to allow you to hear the beeps without interference from the outside noise. You will then be given instructions on how to respond when you hear the beeps. This may consist of pushing a button or raising your hand when you hear them. After the air conduction and bone conduction portion of the assessment, you will then be given some words to repeat. This is called speech discrimination or word understanding. The dispenser is trying to determine how well your brain understands the spoken word when it is loud enough to hear. This may involve a series of different tests with differing instructions. If you do not understand these instructions, feel free to ask them to be repeated.
Once the hearing assessment is complete, the dispenser will provide a consultation about their recommendation for amplification. There are several options to consider when selecting the appropriate solution for your hearing needs. These will vary depending upon the hearing professional and their office practices. You may be offered a trial of amplification that day or later when your selected device is ready. These trial periods, if offered, prices and warranties will vary by location and manufacturer. After you receive your hearing instrument, you will be evaluated with the hearing instrument in place to make sure you are receiving appropriate benefit from the device.
Be sure to ask questions and understand what you are paying for and what is included in the price/package you select. Georgia law requires that you sign and receive a copy of your Bill of Sale from the Dispenser. If you are not comfortable with anything during the appointment, ask questions to understand what is happening.
A Georgia Licensed Hearing Dispenser can provide you the best solution to your hearing needs.