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Have a Heart: Accompany a Loved One to their Hearing Appointment

One of the sweetest things you can do for someone you love is to accompany them to their hearing evaluation. Having two sets of ears on hand to hear the results are better than one – especially if there are decisions to make.

A hearing evaluation from a credentialed audiologist or hearing health professional consists of several parts. Before the testing begins, patients complete a case history consisting of medical and hearing health questions. Afterward, the audiologist administers a series of tests to determine if there is hearing loss. If there is hearing loss, the audiologist explains the extent and probable causes along with treatment options.

Why accompany someone to a hearing evaluation?

Comfort and Support. Most hearing evaluations last 90 minutes or less. None of the testing is painful; however, it can be stressful to anticipate the results. Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss in the United States and is permanent. While most individuals diagnosed with this type of hearing loss are good candidates for hearing aids, the average individual with presbycusis delays seeking help for this hearing loss for seven years. The reasons for the delay vary. Some are reluctant to hear the diagnosis because they perceive there is a social stigma associated with wearing hearing aids while some don’t believe they can afford the cost of hearing instruments.

Understanding the results. Sometimes it’s confusing to hear the results of medical testing – especially when you can’t hear well or have other things on your mind. That’s why it’s nice to have a trusted friend or family member along who can take notes and ask appropriate questions while the audiologist interprets the findings. If the evaluation detects a hearing loss, what type is it? Is it in one ear or both? What is the cause? Is it permanent or temporary? If it’s permanent, will hearing aids or cochlear implants help? What are the next steps?

Making informed decisions. If your loved one is over the age of 65, there’s a good chance the hearing evaluation will detect some hearing loss as it’s normal for hearing to deteriorate as we age. Regardless, it’s nice to have a trusted friend or family member on hand to help make informed medical decisions, such as what type of hearing aid to purchase and what features they should include to complement their lifestyle.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to many other physical and socio-economic issues so it’s important for your loved ones to have a thorough hearing evaluation as soon as a change in hearing health is detected. Having you along during the process is a heartfelt way to support their proactive decision.

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