“What can I expect at my first appointment?”
We provide a full range of hearing services to diagnose, treat and prevent hearing loss. We also recognize your hearing loss is making communication difficult. Know that help is available. Hearing aid studies have shown that people who have a positive attitude do better with hearing aids.
Our most asked question is always “What can I expect during my first appointment?” Given that hearing problems effect the entire family and social circle, it is strongly recommended that the new patient have a spouse, family member, or friend attend the consultation as their input can be very helpful.
Here is a quick explanation of each step in your initial appointment, from front desk check in to (if necessary) purchasing your first set of hearing aids.
Hearing Appointment Check-In
When you first make an appointment, intake paperwork will be emailed to you for completion prior to your arrival. If you are not able to complete the paperwork via email, arrive at your appointment 15 minutes early to complete a form that includes your personal and insurance information, as well as a health history questionnaire. We are required to obtain HIPAA and release signatures.
Please bring a photo I.D. and your insurance card. Our Patient Care Coordinators will contact your insurance provider to determine if you have any coverage. If you are working or seeking employment, you may be eligible for hearing aids through the State of New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations
Identify communication settings that are difficult for you, and relate them to your audiologist so they can determine the best hearing aid for you, program the hearing aid accordingly, and help you to develop strategies to manage difficult situations.
The Audiologist will use an otoscope to inspect your outer ear and your ear canal for any abnormalities that may affect your hearing test results or require you to visit an ENT doctor.
Next, the audiologist will conduct several tests including:
Pure Tone Audiometry
You will be seated in a sound attenuating booth for the hearing test. We will present tones to your ears and ask you to indicate whether or not you can hear them. Our goal is to find the softest sound that you can hear at each pitch. This is done in two ways: air conduction and bone conduction. The air conduction pathway is the traditional route for sound waves to travel in the ear, through the outer, middle and inner ear and ultimately to the brain. The second pathway for sound to be heard is through bone conduction. When an oscillator is placed on the mastoid bone behind the ear and a tone is presented, that tone can be heard through vibrations in the skull. By comparing the softest sounds you can hear by air conduction and by bone conduction, we can determine the type of hearing loss present.
You will hear some words and be asked to repeat them. If you are not sure of the word, we then encourage you to take a guess. How well you are able to repeat the words you hear can be combined with the other test results to determine which type of hearing loss is present.
This test is performed to measure how well your eardrum is moving. Your eardrum moves back and forth in response to sound waves. Fluid in the middle ear space, earwax accumulation, or a hole in the eardrum may affect how well it moves.
A healthy inner ear creates a sound in response to acoustic stimuli. These are called otoacoustic emissions and the presence or absence can be used to determine the type of hearing loss you have.
If you hear noises or ringing in the ear, you may be tested to determine the type and severity of the head noises. You will be asked to match a sound to the one in your ears, both in terms of loudness and sound quality.
Speech in Noise
Background noise is a significant challenge to many people with hearing loss. You may be asked to repeat sentences in the presence of background babble, similar to a cocktail party. The babble noise gradually gets louder until you are no longer able to detect the primary talker. This is helpful in assessing your performance compared to listeners with normal hearing.
The results of these tests are used to determine:
- Whether or not a hearing loss exists
- If so, the possible cause
- The degree and type of hearing loss and whether the loss exists in one or both ears
- The best treatment options
In certain scenarios, based on the results of the hearing test and the answers to these questions, our highly trained audiologists may make a referral to a medical doctor for an examination and possible treatment. We also provide tinnitus diagnosis, evaluation and rehabilitation.
Hearing Aid Fitting
If you are a hearing aid candidate, our audiology experts and hearing instrument specialists will guide you through our selection of hearing aids and determine which best fits your needs. We carry a full line of hearing aids featuring the latest digital technology, including Bluetooth and smartphone app connectivity.
After you choose the make, model and color of your hearing aid, we will outline pricing and payment options–including services with purchase–and reasonable expectations of hearing aids. The final decision on which hearing aid is purchased is yours.
During the hearing aid fitting, the device is programmed to meet your unique needs. You will be provided with instructions for inserting and removing the hearing aid, changing the batteries or placing on the charging dock, and proper care of the device.
After you review and sign your contract, we’ll schedule a follow up appointment to check on your progress.
At your first follow-up appointment, we’ll provide a Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI) questionnaire and/or perform Live Speech Mapping to verify the benefits of your new hearing aids. It is also best to have routine maintenance and cleaning scheduled to preserve and protect the function of your hearing aid. You can usually schedule appointments for adjustments and routine checks within one week.
Give us a call to book your appointment today!