It is quite normal to feel a little unsure about what might happen and what you might expect on your first visit to see an audiologist. For a lot of people visiting an audiologist, they will be referred there by a doctor or another specialist related to problems with hearing. However, when it comes to your audiologist appointment, it is not like going to see a regular doctor. 

What does an audiologist do?

Audiologists are professionals who are highly trained in evaluating, treating and diagnosing issues that are related to hearing loss, hearing, balance and tinnitus. They are very skilled at what they do, with all audiologists having a master’s degree. An audiologist will use a variety of methods and tests to be able to completely evaluate your hearing, alongside any issues around balance, if relevant. Your audiologist can also dispense and fit hearing aids, as well as other hearing devices. 

What to expect at your appointment

At your first appointment, the audiologist will go through your health history with you, to confirm any recent complaints that you have had around hearing, as well as health in general. It can be a good idea to take someone with you to your appointment if possible, as some of the tests may involve hearing a voice that is familiar to you. They can also help to communicate to the audiologist for you and write things down for you, if that is a concern.

There are then some tests that you will go through with your audiologist. The main three kinds of tests that you will encounter are:

  • Otoscopy: This is where your audiologist will look into your ear canal with a magnifier called an otoscope. This checks for blockages such as a buildup of earwax, as well as identifying any problems within your ear canal or with your eardrum. 
  • Tympanometry: This is a test that looks at the function of the middle of your ear. What your audiologist will be doing is assessing how well your eardrum can respond to certain pressures. This test will be able to identify the things that can impact the eardrum’s motion, such as a buildup of fluid or other issues. 
  • Audiometry: One of the steps is about air conduction and one is about bone conduction. In a soundproof room, you will be played different sounds and then asked to press a button or put your hand up when you hear certain sounds. From this, your audiologist will be able to determine the softest sound that you’re able to hear at a variety of pitches, as well as the softest sound that you can hear when the inner ear is stimulated. 

The whole appointment is comfortable and so shouldn’t be anything that you need to worry about. Audiologists are experts in what they do and will talk you through the whole process. After the tests, your audiologist will spend some time explaining and going through the results of the tests and guide you on what the step is, if relevant.