What questions should I ask my GP?
A GP may look in your ears or carry out other physical examinations and review your medical history. From there, they may order additional tests, recommend treatment or connect you with a specialist.
When talking with your doctor, whether GP or specialist, it’s important to let them know about your concerns (and show them the results of your hearing screening test, if you took one).
Have a list of questions prepared, for example, you might like to ask some or all of the following.
What’s going on?
- Is there anything in my current or previous history (e.g. health conditions, medications) that could account for the change in my hearing?
- Could my family history or my exposure to noise account for my current difficulties (if these factors are relevant)?
- Is my condition likely to be stable, or get better or worse over time?
- What treatment options are available?
- Do you have any written information about my condition?
Solutions, services and treatments
- Do I really need this treatment/service?
- How likely is this treatment/service to be successful?
- What are the likely benefits and risks from this treatment/service?
- Are there simpler or alternative options?
- What happens if I don’t do anything? Ask if it might get worse or better if you don’t
- What are the costs? Costs can be financial, emotional or a cost of your time. Is there a cheaper or easier alternative?
- What is the process of obtaining this treatment/service? For example, how many appointments, for how long?
- Are there other services/specialists outside of your clinic that might be useful in my situation?
- Can you recommend an audiologist/audiometrist for a full diagnostic assessment of my hearing?
If your GP doesn’t have any particular clinician that they usually recommend, ask friends or family for a recommendation – other people’s experiences can be a great indication of the experience you can expect. Be sure take our fact sheet Questions for Your Audiologist (https://soundfair.org.au/hearing-information-sheets/) along with you to your first appointment.
“I have a cochlear implant in my left ear and although I have a hearing aid for the right ear I hadn’t been using it until recently. I saw my cochlear implant surgeon for a follow-up and he asked why I wasn’t wearing the hearing aid. It turns out it was because I didn’t hear the initial instructions clearly enough – they were trying to tell me not to wear it for just a little while after the implant surgery to get used to the cochlear implant, but then start wearing it again shortly afterwards. But I thought they meant don’t wear it at all. So for two years I had not been wearing the hearing aid when I should have been, so I was struggling a lot. Since I’ve started to wear it, it’s been a lot better. I should have asked more questions at the time!” – Marjia.
You should feel confident speaking to your doctor. Always ask questions if you are unclear about information and always follow up on your treatments and tests. If you would like another opinion regarding a treatment or medical condition, you should always seek a second opinion from another doctor.