Four Things to Know about Audiologists
Perhaps it’s become more difficult to hear the TV or to hear a conversation in a noisy restaurant. You want to learn more but are a bit anxious about discussing possible hearing loss. Your primary health care provider doesn’t provide hearing tests, so what is the best option for you? If you’re in your mid-50s or older or haven’t had a hearing test in at least five years, your best option is to see an audiologist. Before you set your appointment, here are four things to know about audiologists.
1. Audiologists have advanced degrees.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree, audiologists study for several additional years and hold a master’s and a doctorate, usually a doctor of audiology (Au.D.), a doctor of philosophy in audiology (Ph.D.), or a doctor of science in audiology (Sc.D.). Audiologists subscribe to a professional code of ethics and are licensed by the state. Hearing instrument specialists are licensed to fit hearing aids and perform specific tests regarding hearing aids and at minimum have a high school diploma.
2. Audiologists provide numerous treatments.
Many things, including exposure to loud noises and the aging process, can cause hearing loss. That’s why deciding to get hearing aids without consulting an audiologist may not solve your hearing issue. Audiologists can help with auditory nerve function, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), balance disorders, earwax removal, counseling and hearing aids. If your hearing loss is due to an earwax blockage or perhaps a middle ear infection, an audiologist has the education necessary to make that diagnosis and provide treatment.
3. Audiologists perform comprehensive exams.
Audiologists are equipped to perform a number of hearing tests along with a medical exam to determine the cause of a hearing loss. Your first appointment includes a thorough look at your medical history and current issues. Then several tests are administered, including a physical exam of your ears with an instrument called an otoscope. Next, comes a test to determine how your eardrum responds to pressure (tympanometry) and a hearing test to measure how well you hear sounds – both pitch and volume.
4. Audiologists provide testing for all ages.
From newborns to the elderly, audiologists treat all ages. Before a newborn leaves the hospital, it’s likely he or she has had several hearing tests. Toddlers and young children also are tested before attending school and throughout the school years. Hearing loss can occur at any age and audiologists have the resources to treat everyone.
These four things to know about audiologists should help to ease any anxiety you may have about your audiology appointment. Audiologists are caring professionals with counseling experience to discuss all options regarding your hearing diagnosis and treatment. If you need hearing aids, audiologists offer a wide selection of aids to specifically assist with your particular hearing loss. This personalized care from a medical professional provides the best solution to your hearing problems.