I am required to show proof of my deafness to NAD in order for me to compete in Miss Deaf America pageant. Despite my 1998 audiogram saying that it was consistent with 1996 result, NAD requires me to submit my audiogram latest as 2 years old. Ugh.
I am used to the school system spoiling me - free audiograms all of my life, as long as I was in school. But now, nope. I am in the real world, meaning ::gulps:: I pay my own audiogram, with copay thru insurance.
It was time to do some research. I called my doctor's office asking about an audiogram. $28? Wow. I thought that was expensive. Not until I called various audiological services in metro area. $160, $175, $115. Whaaaat?! Resigned, I called my doctor's office again, confirming.."Are you sure it is $28?" They assured me, so I made an appointment to get an audiogram at the doctor's office. I felt funny. I never saw any sound booth there, but then who knew.
I entered the office and my gut feeling felt even more strange as I was weighed. Temperature taken. Blood pressure taken. Nurse having me to sit in one of those rooms. Another nurse came by with this black slender tool. Told me to raise my hand when I hear a tone. Silence. Other ear. Silence. Im done. What? I asked the nurse, that I need an audiogram sheet to show proof. She said they dont have that kind of machine, so she wrote on the prescription paper, "Patient not responsing at 25 dB at 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 Hz". 25 dB?! This is a joke. I only can hear over 90 dB. I stared at the white note, figuring out what to do. I told the nurse that I was looking for a sound booth, where I sit inside with headphones. She nodded and said they do not do that here, that I need to see a real audiologist. Dooooooh. They told me the copay for this visit is $6 bucks, but waived me cuz it was all a misunderstanding. They referred me to this audiologist on Shawnee Mission Pkwy for the next day.
I decided to call the audiologist's office for directions, because I did not really understand the address. Thank goodness I did. It was in Super Walmart
! I would never have found that place if I did not know it was inside another store. Wait, eeew. Im getting my hearing tested at a super retail market?
I went in the next day. The audiologist was friendly and nice and asked me my reason for getting an updated audiogram. I explained. Then she checked my ears. It was so cool - she turned on this software on this monitor, and put the tool in my ear. Wow, I got to see the insides of my ear! Eeek.. better get rid of that wax in that right ear. That ear is always giving me problems. ::groans::
Then finally I got inside the sound booth and rang the button every time I heard something. I came out, and the real audiogram sheet printed out. Naturally my hearing did not improve within 8 years since that latest audiogram in 1998. Surprising?
What was more surprising - the visit was free
Yup, you read it right. Free. I walked outside the office and saw this big board saying "Free hearing tests". Wow. I did notice it in other Super Walmarts but never knew what it actually meant. Well, now you know where to go next time if you just want a free audiogram to prove your hearing level.