There’s always a little apprehension when setting up an appointment with a medical professional. You want to find someone you like, trust and respect. That’s especially important when it comes to having your hearing checked. If you need hearing aids, you’ll see this person at least once or twice a year for follow-up visits. Here are four questions to ask when selecting an audiologist.

What is your education and experience?

Prior to your appointment, check out the audiologist’s website and call the office and ask to speak with the office manager. He or she will be able to tell you about the audiologists in the group and give you an idea of their specializations and training. Audiologists evaluate hearing and inner and middle ear issues and have specific training and education. Degrees include a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), a Doctor of Philosophy in audiology (Ph.D.), or a Doctor of Science in Audiology (Sc.D.). The website should help give you a well-rounded idea about the audiologist’s background, including more than just education. It’s likely you’ll find something in common, whether it’s growing up in the same state, attending the same college or enjoying the same hobbies.

What do I need to know about your office?

Because this will be a long-term relationship, it’s best to find an audiologist that is convenient to your work or home. You might prefer a single practitioner to a group or vice-versa. Is there more than one location? Ask the office manager if there are night or weekend hours. Check out whether there is on-site parking or street parking. Ask whether insurance may cover some visits and the type of payments accepted by the office.

What takes place at the first visit?

Once you’re at your appointment, your audiologist will consult with you prior to the exams. This is the time to ask any questions you may have. Generally, your audiologist takes your medical history and asks about any ear issues. This is followed by a physical examination of your ears and several hearing tests. These include a check of your eardrum’s response to pressure, an exam to measure how well you hear volume and pitch, and another test regarding how well you hear specific sounds. You’ll receive all the results at this appointment.

What if I need hearing aids?

You’ll want to cover this question during the consultation. If you need hearing aids, your audiologist will begin the process during that first appointment, so it’s best to be prepared. Audiologists have a broad selection of hearing aids in a wide range of prices and will work with you to find the best solution for your hearing loss and budget. Once a decision is made, you’ll set up a hearing aid fitting and follow-up appointments.

These four questions to ask when selecting an audiologist should get you on the right track to find someone you trust and who will provide the dedicated care necessary to improve your hearing health.