Above all, your hearing test should be a pleasant and informative experience.

First, choose the right professional. Before you make the appointment, make sure that the provider is licensed, experienced and well-educated. Check out the website and review their bio.

Second, have your questions written down and ready to discuss. It might even help to provide your chosen audiologist with your questions before the test session begins. This will help her understand why you’re there and what your concerns are. People have hearing tests for very different reasons and it will help the process if your provider knows what your objectives are at the outset.

Your audiologist will spend a lot of time talking to you and asking questions before she actually tests your hearing. Expect questions that don’t seem relevant such as your health and medical history and current medications. She will also ask about your occupational history and recreational and military noise exposure as well as family history of hearing loss. All of this information will help her form a deeper understanding of who you are, the potential for various types of hearing loss, and will help her form a more complete and individualized treatment plan.

The test itself is usually made up of two components; the general physical evaluation and the hearing evaluation. First, the provider will look in and at your ears to make sure there are no signs of disease or a wax build up. She will then test your hearing, loudness tolerance, speech understanding, and speech understanding in noise.

By the end of the session, you should know if you have hearing loss, and the type and severity of hearing loss. If applicable, a recommendation for follow-up testing and treatment will be made. Within a day or two, you should receive a report from your hearing care provider that outlines your history, your test results and her recommendations. This is often the same document that will be sent to your primary care provider if permission was given.

Most audiologists are passionate about helping people hear and welcome all questions. Don’t be afraid to ask anything, no matter how small. You never know what you will learn!