Thinking about getting your hearing checked? Good for you! If you or a loved one suspects you have hearing loss, you probably do. Most people live with hearing loss for five or more years before having their hearing tested. Not sure what’s involved in a hearing test? Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about having a hearing test.

1. What do I need to do to prepare for the test?

Just a little bit of preparation will help the audiologist during your appointment. First, jot down your medical history. Be sure to include major surgeries or illnesses and if you have a history of ear infections. Make a list of all your medications and the supplements you take regularly too.

Next, think about the situations where you find it difficult to hear. Is hearing a challenge in a noisy restaurant or do you have problems hearing the TV or radio? Can you hear the sound of conversation but are not able to distinguish words well? The only other preparation necessary is to make sure your ears are clean and dry when you arrive for your appointment.

2. Should I bring someone with me?

It’s a great idea to bring along a trusted friend or family member. They can help you and the audiologist. In addition, they can provide insight into situations where you have problems hearing. Be sure to share any questions you have about your hearing or hearing aids with your companion before the visit. That way they can ensure that you get answers to all of your questions.

3. Will it hurt?

Hearing tests are not invasive. The audiologist will use an otoscope to look into your ears. This is painless. A tympanometry test is performed to check the function of your inner ear. This requires the insertion of a slender tympanometer in the ear. This should cause zero discomfort. No part of a hearing test should cause pain or discomfort. There are no needles involved and no blood is taken.

4. Is the test covered by insurance?

Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing tests unless the test is performed for medical diagnostic reasons. In that situation, Medicare Part B coverage may apply. Most private health insurance does not cover the cost of hearing exams, but check with your insurance provider before the appointment. Many hearing aid companies underwrite a portion of the cost of providing hearing aid tests, so you may be pleasantly surprised to find that a hearing aid test isn’t very expensive.

5. How long does it take to get results?

Unlike other screening exams and lab tests, you don’t need to wait long for the results of your hearing test. The audiologist will go over the results with you during your visit! During the hearing tests, the results are charted on a graph known as an audiogram. At the end of the tests, all results are on-hand and the audiologist will interpret the results for you that day. There is no waiting for results.