From how often we exercise to the results of our last hearing test, being honest with our doctors about our lifestyles, habits, and health conditions isn’t always the most comfortable experience. In fact, according to AAMC, as many as 8 in 10 patients avoid revealing significant health-related information to their care providers, often citing reasons of shame, embarrassment, and lack of trust. Although a common phenomenon, lying to your doctors, including your audiologist, can lead to improper treatment of your hearing loss.
Building Trust With Your Doctor
At the heart of health care, doctor-patient relationships are built on trust, empathy, and honesty. Whether for a routine check-up or a hearing loss diagnostic test, open communication with your audiologist can make the difference in how effective your prescribed treatment is. Lying to your doctor – even with white lies that seem harmless – leads to the likelihood of the wrong diagnosis, which can put your health and hearing in jeopardy.
Hearing Loss & Hearing Aid History
When visiting with a new audiologist for the first time, one of the first – and most important – things you’ll want to disclose to your doctor is your full hearing health history. No matter if this is your first time checking your hearing or if you have used hearing aids for years, being open with your doctor about the timeline of your hearing loss can help reveal any underlying conditions that may impact your treatment. As 35-55% of age-related hearing loss causes are genetic, patients should be sure to note any history of hearing loss and hearing aid usage within their family.
Sometimes, mild symptoms of hearing loss can go unnoticed and gradually lead to more severe cases of impairment as our hearing capabilities diminish. Be honest with your audiologist about any changes you notice in your hearing, no matter how minute. When consulting with your audiologist about the quality of your hearing, you’ll want to disclose the occurrence of the following symptoms:
- Hearing muffled speech or sounds
- Difficulty hearing consonants
- Frequent need to turn up the volume of the radio or TV
- Trouble understanding conversations
- Hearing ringing or hissing sounds (tinnitus)
- Pain or discomfort in one or both ears
- Vertigo or dizziness
Even if you’re already receiving treatment for these hearing loss symptoms, it’s important to discuss signs of persistence or any new concerns with your doctor. With a general lifespan of three to seven years, hearing aids may malfunction or need updating as your hearing changes and the devices age.
No matter the clinical setting, medical history is the backbone of effective health treatment. When you provide your audiologist with an accurate record of your medical history, your hearing doctor receives a more in-depth background of your health that can help influence the type of treatment plan, including appropriate referrals, best for you.
Information that falls under medical history
When disclosing your medical history to your audiologist, you may be inclined to only focus on how it has pertained to your hearing. But since hearing capabilities can be impacted by other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, it’s important to reveal your entire health timeline, no matter how insignificant or embarrassing it may seem. Noise exposure, for example, is a habit that many patients wish to conceal when in clinical settings, although repeated exposure is a well-established risk factor for hearing impairment.
- Family medical history
- Ear disease history
- Ear surgery history
- Present medications
Find an Audiologist You Can Trust
Choosing an audiologist to diagnose and treat your hearing loss may seem overwhelming at first, but the right audiologist will never make you feel ashamed of your condition. Audiologists that make it easy to be transparent about everything from your hearing loss symptoms to your family’s medical history help foster patient-doctor relationships that lead to more effective treatment.
Locating the right audiologist for you often begins with assessing their communication skills. For example, does your hearing doctor face you when asking questions? Do they speak at an appropriate speed with a clear voice? Does your audiologist listen to you? An audiologist that will best contribute to your hearing health not only emphasizes building a trusted relationship but also strives to make you feel heard.
Contact Associated Hearing Professionals
With over 70 years of combined experience serving St. Louis and Chesterfield, the audiologists at Associated Hearing Professionals believe in the power of trust with our patients. No matter if it’s your first consultation or a routine check-up, we can use our superior expertise and state-of-the-art instruments to improve your quality of life through better hearing. For compassionate health care you can trust, schedule your appointment at one of our locations today.