What is an Acoustician?

Acousticians are professionals who identify and manage disorders of the auditory system. They provide counseling regarding the social effects of hearing loss and the benefits gained through amplification and/or assistive listening devices. Acousticians select, fit and dispense the appropriate communication system and educate the patient and family members on improving communication capabilities.

What is a hearing test?
The hearing care professional will begin by exploring your medical and hearing history. Then, he or she will:

  1. Examine your ears (otoscopy), test the mobility of your eardrum, and check the pressure in the middle ear. This helps to determine whether your hearing loss is due to problems in the middle ear (conductive) or problems in the inner ear (sensorineural).

  2. Perform a thorough hearing test, which produces an audiogram showing the extent of your hearing loss.

  3. Try to determine how well you understand speech.

All of these tests are fast and painless.

What is an audiogram?
An audiogram is the product of a hearing test. More precisely, it's a graphical representation on paper, showing the specific pitches (frequencies) and loudness (intensity) levels that a person can hear with each ear.

  1. You listen to a series of pure tones (simple sounds) using headphones or with tiny soft inserts in each ear. The tones range from 250 Hz through 8000 Hz (frequencies most relevant to hearing everyday environmental and speech sounds).

  2. You indicate - either by raising a hand or pressing a response button - whether or not you actually heard the sound.

  3. The sounds begin to decrease in intensity (loudness) so that the hearing care professional can determine where it starts to become difficult for you to hear (your hearing threshold).

  4. The thresholds are recorded on the audiogram with frequency, intensity and ear-specific information in dB HL.

Questions to Ask Your Hearing Professional
By checking out the information in this site, youíll already know a lot. But itís easy to forget how general information applies to you, specifically. Print this list of questions, add your own, and youíll be well prepared to find out what you really want to know if and when you visit a hearing professional.

  1. What kind of hearing loss do I have? (Conductive or sensorineural?)

  2. Is it medically treatable?

  3. Is there anyone else I should see about this?

  4. What are the results of my hearing tests? Whatís my hearing threshold?

  5. Are there specific frequencies or types of sound I have more trouble with than others?

  6. Is there anything I can do on my own to hear better?

  7. What are my treatment options?

  8. Can I prevent further hearing loss?

If your hearing professional recommends hearing instruments, be sure youíve discussed the following.

  1. Will hearing instruments actually improve my ability to hear?

  2. What are the differences between basic types of hearing instruments?

  3. What kind of hearing instruments would be best for me?

  4. How are hearing instruments priced? Can you break down the cost?

  5. Whatís the return or trial period on the hearing instruments Iím purchasing?

  6. Are there service fees that wonít be refunded if I return the hearing instruments? What is covered in these fees, and how much can I expect to pay?

  7. What kind of post-fitting and aural rehabilitation programs do you provide?

  8. Can I expect to come back for minor alterations?

  9. Do you provide a written contract or purchase agreement?

  10. Is there a warranty? Who honors the warranty, you or the manufacturer?

  11. Is there financing available for buying hearing instruments?

  12. Can I get insurance in case theyíre lost or damaged?

  13. Whatís the average lifespan of this hearing instrument?

  14. What happens if my hearing instruments stop working?

  15. Do you repair them or does someone else? What will it cost?

  16. Will I be provided with loaner hearing instruments while mine are being repaired?

  17. What happens if my hearing changes?


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