Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to prepare in advance. Here are some suggestions to help you get ready for your appointment and understand what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make your appointment, ask if you need to fast for blood work or if there's anything else you need to do to prepare for diagnostic tests.
- Write down all the symptoms you're experiencing and when they started. Include any that may seem unrelated to problems with your ears.
- Make a list of all your medications, including any over-the-counter drugs and vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Write down any known allergies, such as skin reactions or drug allergies.
If you're experiencing any signs or symptoms of swimmer's ear, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing problems with my ear?
- What is the best treatment?
- When should I expect improvement?
- Are there treatment side effects I should watch for? Should I notify you if they occur?
- Do I need to make a follow-up appointment?
- If I have swimmer's ear, how can I prevent getting it again?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared in advance, don't hesitate to ask questions about anything that comes up during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you some of the following questions:
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- Have your symptoms gotten worse?
- Have you been swimming lately?
- Do you swim often?
- Where do you swim?
- Have you ever had swimmer's ear before?
- Do you have any allergies or chronic skin conditions?
- Do you use cotton swabs or other objects to clean your ears?
- Do you use headphones or any other ear devices?
- Have you had any other recent ear examinations or procedures?
- Goguen LA. External otitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 4, 2010.
- Osguthorpe JD, et al. Otitis externa: Review and clinical update. American Family Physician. 2006;74:1510.
- Kaushik V, et al. Interventions for acute otitis externa. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010:CD004740.
- Swimmer's ear: Otitis externa. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/illnesses/swimmers-ear.html. Accessed Aug. 4, 2010.
- Swimmer's ear. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/swimmersEar.cfm. Accessed Aug. 18, 2010.
- Rubin MA, et al. Pharyngitis, sinusitis, otitis and other respiratory tract infections. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2883486. Accessed Aug. 18, 2010.