Our Doctors of Audiology are like detectives, vigilantly trying to find out exactly what prompted you to make your appointment and precisely what conditions could be contributing to your hearing challenges or balance issues.
The doctors will ask you questions about your ability to hear in various listening environments, in various situations, and with various speakers. Many of our patients say they hear well some of the time and yet hear poorly at other times—that their hearing problems are not consistent.
You also will be completing a self-perceived hearing inventory to help them determine how you perceive your difficulties. Then they will ask lots of questions probing to uncover all the possible factors that could contribute to your troubles with hearing and/or balance.
These factors which may predispose you to hearing/balance problems generally fall into three categories:
Medications including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and “natural” remedies—all of which can have side effects that adversely affect hearing or balance.
Chronic and acute health conditions, vision deficiencies, and certain medications may be toxic to your hearing or cause imbalance and dizziness. These can adversely affect your ability compensate for hearing loss or see well enough to walk without stumbling.
Lifestyle choices, both previous or current, can impact your hearing. Examples are: occupational, military, recreational noise exposure; smoking, toxic chemical exposure, etc. In addition, familial hearing loss, ear disease, and medications can also impact your hearing.
Our Doctors are most interested to learn about your personal lifestyle, how often you are in groups, visit restaurants, or attend meetings. We need to know how you hear at a distance (such as at a place of worship) and how well you hear the television or on the telephone.
Our Doctors of Audiology care about you. They even want to know about your kids and your grandkids and if you ever have fallen or if you ever feel dizzy.
Cerumen (Ear Wax) Removal
We will patiently and gently remove excess ear wax from your ears prior to your hearing testing. We will perform this procedure regularly if you wear hearing aids, since ear wax can impede hearing with or without hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Demos
Should your hearing loss require the use of hearing aids, our Doctors of Audiology always demonstrate the improvement in hearing that hearing aids can provide. Often, they loan the hearing aids out and suggest that you specifically seek out situations when you had trouble hearing in the past during the demo period.
Beyond Hearing Aids: Sound Advice Classes for Patients and Family Members
If you need hearing aids or if you are a “borderline” candidate, we strongly encourage you to attend our free classes on how to live with hearing loss. You will learn all about your hearing loss and what to do to help yourself hear better. You will also learn the law (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and how it applies to you in terms of equal access to movies, to the courtroom, to live theatre presentations, and hearing well on the phone.
As John Klein, a retired coach from Libertyville who resides with his wife, related:
“The class was informative and has changed the way my wife and I communicate. Some humor (rather than frustration) has been interjected in our lives. The classes have changed the way we communicate.”
Hearing Loop Demonstration and Installation
The Doctors of Audiology make it very clear that hearing aids constitute only a small part of hearing loss help. They urge you to listen to the television via the hearing loops that are installed in each of the office waiting rooms and they encourage you to attend local places of worship or the Marriott Theatre and link into the sound system via the hearing loops installed there. Listening via a hearing loop is like listening with a loudspeaker in your ear—no background noise, no distance issues, and no annoying echo—just pure, clear sound.
The doctors even have a hearing loop installer they can recommend for patient TV rooms and bedrooms.