To get the most out of your visit to an audiologist, it’s important to listen carefully to what you’re told about your hearing condition. It’s also good to ask questions. To help you express the things you’re probably already wondering about if you’ve been told you have hearing loss, here’s a list of five questions your audiologist will be happy to help you answer.

1. What should you expect from a typical hearing evaluation?

Many people who approach an appointment with an audiologist for the first time ask what they should expect – how long will it be? Will the exams hurt or be embarrassing? Will my hearing be treated today?

The answers to these questions will vary based on your individual situation (although we can assure you that none of the exam will be painful or embarrassing). The exact procedures each audiologist follows will be slightly different, but you can generally expect the appointment to be split up into three parts: gathering your medical history and symptoms, performing a physical exam of your ears and evaluating your audiological function using a range of hearing tests.

2. What type of hearing loss do you have?

There are many possible types of hearing loss and the symptoms and effects each differ greatly. Even if you know your diagnosis, the range and extent of your hearing abilities and losses will be unique. Your audiologist will be able to go over the results of your hearing exams in detail and explain the sources or causes of your hearing loss. They’ll also have input on how your hearing may or may not change in the future.

3. What options do you have for hearing assistance?

There are many types of hearing aids and assistive devices to choose from these days. Based on your type of hearing loss, routine activities and most frequented environments, your audiologist will have specific suggestions. Hearing aids and high-tech accessories can not only help you hear everyday noises and conversation more clearly, but listen to media, attend public lectures, and talk on the phone with comfort and ease.

4. Can you do anything to prevent further hearing loss?

The answer to this will always be yes, but your audiologist can provide specific techniques and precautions for you based on your hearing needs and individual lifestyle. Most recommend following the HEAR strategy: hold yourself accountable for your hearing, evaluate your surroundings, avoid noise and remember protection.

5. Can your family and friends do anything to help?

Family and friends can be incredibly helpful when you decide to seek attention for your hearing loss. From helping to identify symptoms you’ve exhibited that maybe you didn’t know you had, to visiting your audiologist with you to take notes and ask extra questions, your friends and family can play an integral role in your hearing loss treatment.