Audiologists are licensed hearing healthcare professionals that diagnose and provide treatment for hearing impairment, tinnitus, and balance conditions related to the ear. Working closely with physicians that specialize in the ear, nose, and throat, audiologists will administer hearing evaluations and diagnostic testing to properly identify the cause and site of lesion in the ear. If the possibility of medical treatment is ruled out, the audiologist will then provide the appropriate treatment and management for the condition that you are most bothered by.
If your primary concern is difficulty with hearing, the audiologist should take more of a patient-centered approach and determine the most appropriate hearing instrument(s) for each individual. With the advances in technology, hearing aid features are designed to service individuals of all ages and lifestyles. It is important to discuss with your audiologist the specific situations and difficulty you would like to improve on to find the best hearing solution for you.
If you are not yet ready for hearing aids, the audiologist may provide you with educational material to learn more about your specific hearing loss. In addition to hearing aids, assistive listening devices are available to assist with the particular situation you are having difficulty. Such devices include a telephone or television amplifier, personal sound amplifiers and smoke detectors. Aural Rehabilitation such as auditory training and listening skills can also be provided to further improve communication.
If the primary concern is tinnitus, sound therapy and counseling are available to manage the symptom. Together the audiologist and Otolaryngologist will determine the best plan for management and relief. In cases of tinnitus, it is imperative to determine any underlying cause before considering treatment options. It is often that the Otolaryngologist will refer you to an audiologist following a comprehensive work up.
Other specialties include hearing loss conservation programs, cochlear implants, auditory processing disorder, intraoperative monitoring and newborn hearing screenings. With a doctoral degree, audiologists are trained in a variety of services with a wide scope of practice.
So, when is it time to visit an audiologist? To become more informed about hearing loss, related ear conditions, prevention and/or treatment options, visit an audiologist and learn more today.