Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Hearing Loss
Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with hearing loss. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can make the best choices for you and your family.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
- Write down your questions so you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Tips for the Appointment
- Tell the receptionist about any problems you may have hearing your name called while in the office waiting room.
- Ask for a quiet, well-lit room.
- Ask the provider to face you and speak clearly. Ask for things that are hard to hear to be repeated.
- If one is needed, ask for an interpreter or someone who signs when you make your appointment.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider TOP
About Your Hearing Loss
- How severe is my hearing loss? What is my degree of hearing loss?
- Do I have it in one or both ears? If it is in only one ear, what is my risk of getting it in the other ear?
- What caused my hearing loss?
About Your Risk of Getting Hearing Loss
- Given my activities, what is my risk for getting hearing loss?
- Do I have any health problems or take any medicines that put me at risk?
- How can I best prevent hearing loss?
About Treatment Options
- Can my hearing loss be treated?
- What options do I have?
- Would a medical procedure help improve my hearing?
- Would a hearing aid or assistive device help me? Where can I find a hearing specialist who can help me choose one and learn how to use it?
- Do you know of any support groups that could help me?
- Do you know of a counselor who works with people who have a hearing loss?
About Lifestyle Habits
- What should I do to prevent ear infections?
- Do I need to avoid cigarette smoke?
- Are there some medicines that I should avoid?
- What do I need to do to protect my ears from loud noise?
About Your Outlook
- What is the outlook for my health problem?
- Do I need to be concerned about this health problem coming back?
- Will it get worse over time? How quickly will changes happen?
- What can I do to lower the chances of my hearing loss getting worse?
- What are the best ways to stay socially active?
Deaf or hard-of-hearing: tips for working with your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
https://familydoctor.org/deaf-or-hard-of-hearing-tips-for-working-with-your-doctor. Updated December 21, 2017. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Hearing loss. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/ear-nose-throat/Pages/Hearing-Loss.aspx. Updated August 1, 2009. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Hearing loss and older adults. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at:
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-older-adults. Updated July 17, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Stachler RJ, Chandrasekhar SS, et al; American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF). Clinical practice guideline: sudden hearing loss. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;146(3 Suppl):S1-35.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated November 26, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD