If you think that you may have a hearing loss it is a good idea to go to your doctor
The advice of audiologists is, if you have any degree of hearing loss, go to your GP.
At what stage should you ask to be referred to the hospital?
If your GP cannot restore your hearing e.g. by removing wax, ask to be referred to the hospital for a hearing test. (In some areas you may be referred to an ENT consultant. In other areas you may be referred to an audiology clinic.)
The hospital should give you a hearing test. You may also be given hearing aid, which many people find to be of great benefit. Get your hearing checked at the first sign of hearing loss.
Do not let anybody put you off, not even your GP
Some GPs don’t believe that some of their patients cannot hear so you may have to insist that you cannot hear. Do not be afraid to keep asking because some GPs can take a lot of persuading. For example, if your GP says “It’s natural to lose a bit of hearing at your age”, do not be put off; ask to be referred for a hearing test.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions about going to the GP to ask for a referral:
FAQ 3.a. How deaf should I be before I ask for help? Go to your GP as soon as you realise that you have a hearing loss.
FAQ 3.b. How will I know if my hearing loss is big enough to ask for a referral for a hearing test? Do not be embarrassed to ask your GP for help with deafness if one, or more, of the following apply to you:
- If you feel that you cannot hear what people are saying as clearly as you think you should.
- If you feel that people no longer speak clearly.
- If you feel that everybody mumbles these days.
- If you are straining to hear.
- If you cannot hear in large groups.
- If you cannot hear in small groups.
- If you can no longer hear in background noises
- If there is any situation where you used to be able to hear but no longer can
- If you cannot hear warning sounds (e.g. approaching traffic)
- If you no longer hear the background sounds you used to hear (e.g. birds, footsteps, and the fridge.)
- If you just feel that you are losing your hearing. Indeed, it is a good idea to go if you are not sure but think that you only may have a hearing loss.
- If you want the TV or radio or music on louder than other people
- If you can no longer hear the telephone ring
- If you can no longer hear what people say on the phone
- If other people complain that you only hear when you want to
- If people complain that you are not listening
- If other people start to laugh at your mistakes
- If other people start to get impatient or pull faces at you
- If you are guessing at what people say.
- If you start to avoid social situations
- If you keep on needing to lean forward to hear
- If you have difficulties hearing during meetings
- If you have difficulties hearing in certain rooms
Any one the above may be a good reason for asking your GP for a referral for a hearing test.
FAQ 3.c. What happens if my hearing loss is only on one side? Should I bother the doctor? Do not be embarrassed to go to the GP if you only have a one sided hearing loss. In fact it is very important to go to the GP if you have a one-sided loss. It may not be anything serious but a one-sided hearing loss can occasionally be a sign of something serious.