Hearing Awareness Project
- A » Accessible Political Advertising
- B » Batteries
- C » Checklist
- D » Doctors
- E » your E.N.T.
- F » Funding
- G » Groups
- H » Health Care Facilities
- I » Insurance
- J » Job Search
- K » Keys
- L » Legislation
- M » Math & Stats
- N » Nurses
- O » SeniOrs
- P » Partnerships
- Q » Questions
- R » Reports
- S » Symbols
- T » Training
- U » Unhappiness
- V » Videos
- W » Words
- X » X-rays
- Y » Youth
- Z » Zen
Before you Visit the Ear Doctor (ENT/Otolaryngologist/Otorhinolaryngologist)
Getting Ready for your Visit
Going to an ENT to identify or treat a hearing loss can be and is often a difficult situation for the average consumer. The potential trauma of discovering you have a permanent hearing loss aside, consumers often find the interview disorienting and out of control due to their inability to comprehend what the Doctor is saying, or the manipulation of the discussion by their wife/husband, daughter/son, sister/brother or companion who understand the Doctor better than they do. Remember - it's your hearing loss, your diagnosis and your doctor. It's easy to give up control and very hard to take it back once the conversation has gone on for some length.
Before the Visit: Whose ears are they anyway? Before the visit, make it clear to your companion that they are there to help you understand. They are not there to ask or answer questions on your behalf. Perhaps they could bring pen and paper and write down the Doctor's questions or answers that you have difficulty understanding.
Prepare Yourself: Questions to ask your ENT
- What is my diagnosis?
- What caused the hearing loss?
- Now that I have hearing loss, is there anything I should/can do to prevent further loss?
- How do you recommend treating the hearing loss?
- Will medications be necessary? If so, what are they and are there any side effects?
- Is surgery possible in the future? What are its implications and possible side effects?
- What are the risks if I do NOT take the treatment you reccommend? Could my hearing get worse?
- What should I do next to maximize the residual hearing?
- Will changes in my/our lifestyle be necessary?
- How often will I/we be required to see you?
- Whom should I call in your office if I have more questions?
- Do you have an email address I can use to contact you since I have difficulty on the telephone?
- Ask the Doctor to give or send you a letter and documents informing you of the diagnosis, the type of hearing loss, the cause of the hearing loss, information about any recommended medical procedure, and aural rehabilitation services available in the community.
During the appointment the Doctor must...
- Provide an assistive listening device (ALD) available for their patients? (A Pocket Talker is the common device used to help patients in the interview)
- Make sure he has your attention before he starts speaking
- Speak directly to you; speak in a moderate rhythm; try not to change the subject suddenly and rephrase if you have not understood
- Use plain language and not waffle; avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations or acronyms
- Check that you understand what he is saying; be patient and take the time to communicate properly
- Keep a pen and paper handy in case he needs to write anything down
- Augment communication with diagrams and other visual aids
The Doctor should...
- ... explain what tests were done in terms you can understand
- ... explain the severity of the hearing loss
- ... explain the diagnosis in terms you can understand
- ... provide you with a written copy of the diagnosis and audiogram
- ... give you an adequate amount of time to answer your questions and concerns
- ... thoroughly explain any possible medical treatment or side effects
- ... refer you to an Audiologist or Hearing Aid Dispenser/Hearing Instrument Practioner for hearing aid selection, fitting, and aural rehabilitation if the hearing loss is severe enough to require amplification.
Disclaimer: The above list is not meant to be all-inclusive. You may want to disregard some of these questions or add questions of your own.