What to Expect
The first step to finding out more about your hearing health is to book an appointment for a hearing assessment. Our client care coordinator can schedule an appointment for you. You will find directions to the clinic on the Contact Us page.
During the Covid pandemic, we have been modifying the way that we offer our services. Before your appointment, you will receive a reminder and screening call. You will be asked questions about your health and encouraged to reschedule your appointment for your sake, our sake, and that of the community if you are experiencing symptoms of concern. We will put you on our priority re-booking list.
When you arrive, ring the doorbell beside the inner office door. The client care coordinator will welcome you in and ask you to have a seat in the waiting room. When she has returned to her desk, she will invite you to approach. If you do not have your own mask, she will provide you with one along with instructions for properly donning the mask. She will ask you to complete our intake forms: basic information about yourself, a case history form about your hearing health, and a privacy of information form if you have not already downloaded them from the website and completed them.
The audiologist will go over the forms with you later and ask you more in depth questions during your visit.
You may download the forms here to complete them at home at your convenience and email them back to us at [email protected]:
The next step in evaluating your hearing is to look in the ears to evaluate the health of the external ear and examine the eardrum. The audiologist uses an otoscope, a lighted magnifying lens with a protective, disposable, plastic speculum that enables the viewer to see inside the ear canal.
The audiologist first straightens the ear canal by pulling on the pinna (that part of the ear we can see on the side of our head) and then inserts the ear speculum side of the otoscope into the external ear while bracing the otoscope against the patient’s head to avoid injury to the ear canal. The examiner can then look through a lens on the rear of the instrument and see inside the ear canal.
Ear wax, or cerumen, is a normal and healthy waxy oil which protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and micro-organisms. The texture and colour of cerumen is different in each individual and may change over time as we age.
Normally, excess wax works its way out of the ear canal naturally and is washed away. Frequent use of ear buds or ear plugs can prevent cerumen from coming out of the ear on its own.
Some people are prone to excessive wax. Blockage most often occurs, however, when home removal is attempted. Cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other creative tools can push the wax deeper into the ear, resulting in blockage or other unfortunate consequences.
If you know that you don’t have a hole in your eardrum, you can soften the wax by using over-the-counter drops made specifically for this purpose. You can also use the following substances:
- vegetable oils like olive oil
- hydrogen peroxide
- baby oil or mineral oil
Audiologists are trained to remove wax by a variety of techniques and tools.
A hearing test measures your sensitivity to different pitches or frequencies that are important to understanding speech and your ability to recognize words under different listening conditions. It involves listening to different sounds and speech signals delivered using a special set of headphones in a sound treated environment.
We do not offer free hearing tests. We are healthcare professionals like your physiotherapist and chiropractor and we charge for our services. However, we do recognize that there are inconsistencies in the healthcare system that prevent people from getting the care that they need. Rather burden health care resources to have your hearing test paid for by OHIP, we will waive the cost of our initial assessment when adults request a baseline hearing assessment for their family doctor’s records. Because children’s assessments may require 2 audiologists, we offer our children’s initial assessments at a discounted rate.
When we assess your hearing, we are not just screening you to see if you are a hearing aid candidate. You wouldn’t be in our office if you were not experiencing a concern that needs to be addressed. Our job is to figure out what is going on to the best of our ability and to recommend strategies for improving your quality of life.
This consultation may be conducted at the same time as your hearing assessment or it may be scheduled separately depending on time and your needs. There can be a lot of information to take in and a number of options to consider. We don’t want you to feel pressed or pressured.
If you are looking at amplification, we like to leave goals with you for how you will decide if the hearing aids or devices are serving your needs. You can prepare ahead by using the Ida Tools and by completing our Hearing Aid Questionnaire and Self Assessment of Communication. When we understand your activities, the people you interact with, and what is important to you, we can narrow down the choices to a custom solution for you.
Tinnitus Assessment and Management
This appointment starts with a standard diagnostic hearing test with the addition of some measurements of the pitch and intensity of your tinnitus and a review of the results of the tinnitus questionnaires below. This information will help us to figure out the best strategies for you to try.
Depending on your concerns and the severity of your tinnitus, you might be interested in all or some of our series of 4 management training sessions.
If you would like to get a head start on your visit, you can download and print the assessment forms we use at your appointment by clicking on them below:
Hearing Aid Fitting Process
Once you have made the decision to give hearing aids a try, we will schedule 3 appointments for you. We always recommend that you bring someone along with you as a “back up memory”, but more importantly, so that your family and friends will learn more about the impact of hearing loss on your life and how they can be supportive.
During the first appointment, you will be fitted with the hearing aids that were prescribed for you. This appointment usually takes 1- 1 1/2 hours depending on your experience with hearing aids. We will introduce you to the aids and the accessories that come with them, explain their care and maintenance, and fit them using Real Ear Measurements to targets appropriate for you and counsel you on what to expect for the first week with your new devices.
At the follow-up appointment one week later, which you can choose to experience face-to-face or by telehealth, we will make adjustments to the aids based on the experiences you have had and see how well you are doing at meeting your goals.
At the verification and validation appointment 3-4 weeks later, we will again assess how you are doing with the aids and make any necessary changes. Your feedback at each stage of the fitting process is key to tailoring the sound experience to your own unique tastes.
Ongoing Care and Education
Depending on your situation, we may recommend that you have your hearing re-assessed to monitor it for change.
If you are wearing hearing aids, we recommend that you come in every 6 months for a clean and check of your hearing aids. Like your car, regular care and maintenance of your aids is the key to keeping you on the road! Your hearing aids are miniature computers that sit in a warm, moist environment for a good portion of your day and are exposed to various amounts of ear wax every time you wear them. We want you to get the most out of your aids and are happy to help you to learn how to manage them yourself or take care of them for you.
We are always posting tips and tricks and interesting information about your hearing on our Facebook and on our Blogs page. Watch for any special events posted there!
The Covid pandemic has caused us to re-evaluate how we deliver our services. “Curbside” is a change for the better! Call ahead, describe what we can do for you, let us know when you plan to be by, and we can be ready and waiting for you! No more walking in the rain or the cold! We will pick up or bring out to your car in the parking space at the side of the building off Agnes St. How easy is that?!