What to Expect at a Hearing Assessment with an Audiologist


You’ve decided to take care of your auditory health and you’ve booked an appointment for a hearing assessment with South Sound Audiology. No doubt you are now wondering what comes next.

After you’ve booked a day and time that works for you, it’s natural to want to be prepared for what might happen during the hearing evaluation. With that in mind, I’ve answered some of the most common questions we get below.

How to Prepare for a Hearing Assessment

There’s no need to do anything to prepare for a hearing assessment. We take care of everything as soon as you walk in the door.

Should You Bring Someone with You?

One of the first things we suggest regarding your appointment is to bring a loved one or friend with you.

This can be invaluable because they will remember more of what was said than you might, and they also might be able to provide additional information that you forget in the initial assessment of your medical history.

What Happens When You Arrive?

When you arrive, our friendly receptionist will welcome you and let you know about how long it will be before your appointment begins.

At this point, we will ask you to fill out a form or two with your insurance information and some basic medical history questions.

Let us know if you need someone to help you with that when you arrive.

What’s Involved in the Assessment?

The hearing assessment happens in three parts:

A simple Q&A: The first is a deeper analysis of your medical history and how it relates to your hearing. The reasoning behind this is to help us get a general understanding of what’s brought you to see us.

We are particularly looking for information that will help us diagnose and treat your condition.

Our questions will be about your family history, any medications that you’re on, your occupation and how that might have affected your hearing over the years, any hobbies you have that might affect your hearing, and any other activities that you enjoy.

This is also a great time for you to ask any questions about your hearing and what you hope to gain from once again having the ability to hear all the sounds you have been missing.

A physical examination: For the physical part of the examination, I use an otoscope. This is a magnifying glass for audiologists, and it has a little light at the tip so I can look into your ear canal and see if there’s any obstacle or any inflammation in there and if you have any infection.

I’ll also look for impacted earwax, any bugs that might have got trapped in there, or any other foreign object that can affect your hearing.

A test on hearing sounds: The second part of the evaluation takes place in an insulated sound booth, where we will fit you with a set of headphones and conduct a series of tests.

These include:

  • A pure tone test – to see how well you hear different tones
  • A bone conduction test – to measure how well your inner ear conducts sound
  • A speech recognition test – to check how well you hear certain vowels and consonants
  • An acoustic reflex test – to see how your eardrum responds to sound vibrations

If I think it’s needed, I’ll do further testing to find the exact cause of your hearing impairment.

How Does It Feel? Does It Hurt?

No part of a hearing evaluation hurts at all, but you might feel a slightly uncomfortable tickle when I look in your ear canal with the otoscope.

How Soon Do You Get the Results?

We give you the results of your hearing assessment immediately and we discuss them with you right away.

The results will tell us if you have a hearing loss and the unique aspects of its makeup.

What Happens If a Hearing Loss Is Detected after the Assessment?

If we detect a hearing loss, we will tell you what your degree of hearing loss is and offer solutions for treating your condition.

Hearing aids are just one of the treatment options for a hearing loss. Our recommendations might also include medications, an outpatient procedure — to remove a cyst or clean away residue from an infection, recommendations for managing tinnitus, a switch in your prescription medications — if they’ve been affecting your hearing, and/or a referral to another specialist for a medical condition we don’t treat.

We’ll also answer all the questions you have about anything we talk about, and your input will really help us during this discussion because it will give us an insight into your personal preferences and how you think your treatment might fit into your lifestyle best.

We can also recommend the best hearing protection for your job or hobbies, if that’s needed, so that you can prevent any future damage to your hearing.

What Happens after an Audiology Appointment?

After the appointment, we give you some time to decide what you want to do regarding your treatment options, and as soon as you make your choice, then we discuss the best way to go about getting your treatment started.

This might include trying on different makes and models of hearing aids and seeing which additional hearing aid apps would be a good fit for your needs.

We will also discuss your insurance and your budget and how we can best work with both to get you what you need.

Should You Seek Hearing Aids Online?

An option that we’re always open to discuss is about buying hearing aids online. There are some instances where patients consider this option, but the first step in determining this is through a comprehensive audiological evaluation.

Without a diagnostic hearing assessment, you will essentially be self-diagnosing your hearing loss which could actually worsen your loss or disguise a serious underlying health condition.

I highly advise anyone against purchasing hearing aids online or over the counter before having a professional consultation.

Ready to Book a Hearing Assessment?

To book an assessment for yourself or a loved one, simply fill out this form or give us a call at (360) 464-9780 and let us know a time and date that is most convenient for you.

We look forward to enriching your lifestyle with the gift of improved hearing.

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Julie VanAusdal

Since 2006, Ms. VanAusdal has operated South Sound Audiology, applying 20 years of education, experience, and expertise to provide hearing solutions to pediatric and adult patients in the greater Olympia community. She is passionate about restoring the relationships and opportunities her patients lost because of hearing challenges. Her greatest motivation is seeing her patients enjoy a more active, rewarding, and independent lifestyle due to better hearing. Her commitment to our community shines through in her patient-centered approach to her audiology practice.

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