If you’re considering seeing an audiologist for a hearing checkup, there are a few things to keep in mind. You’ll want to bring along your medical history, a list of medications you take and perhaps have a friend with you for moral support. Most of all, you’ll want to consider the questions asked by the audiologist and prepare some answers.

1. When did your hearing loss start?

If you can tell your audiologist when you first started noticing a hearing loss, it can help pinpoint a cause. Age-related hearing loss tends to come on gradually, while hearing loss due to noise exposure or perhaps a blockage in your ear may come on suddenly. Did your work expose you to loud noises? Check with family members and friends who may have noticed a decline in your hearing earlier than you did.

2. Where do you have trouble hearing?

If you have difficulty hearing in noisy restaurants or meetings, or if children’s voices seem hard to understand, those are situations worth noting. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you need to have the television turned up louder than others, or you can’t hear soft or low voices very well. Hearing telephone conversations may also be an issue for you.

3. Have you had any recent medical issues?

Sometimes hearing loss is related to an infection or other problems. Meniere’s disease is a disorder that causes vertigo (dizziness) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss. If you’ve suffered head trauma or sudden exposure to loud noises, these may lead to hearing loss. Your audiologist will also ask about any medications you take now or in the past. Some medications may contribute to hearing loss.

4. Does anyone else in your family have hearing loss?

Some factors contributing to hearing loss are hereditary, so if, for example, your mother or grandfather had hearing loss, you may as well. The answer to this question helps your audiologist narrow down causes for your hearing loss.

5. Do you have any questions for me?

Before your appointment, think about questions you want to ask your audiologist and write them down. Perhaps you want to know how the hearing tests are performed, or why you have to have more than one test. What is causing my symptoms? Can I have a copy of the test results? Do both ears have the same degree of hearing loss? Is my hearing test covered by insurance? What if I need hearing aids? These are just a few questions that you may want to ask.

Preparing for your appointment with your audiologist doesn’t require a lot of studying. Knowing the questions your audiologist will ask is a big help in getting ready for your appointment.