What is an Audiologist?
Audiologists are healthcare experts who specialize in hearing and balance disorders. They inform their patients on the effects of noise on hearing and fit them with hearing devices and hearing aids. Audiologists also aid in research related to hearing loss, tinnitus, and dysfunctional balance system. Audiologists provide services that help improve the quality of life for people with hearing and balance problems.
What Does An Audiologist Do?
Audiologists diagnose, treat and manage hearing and balance problems. They’ll look over a patient’s medical history and assess their hearing or balance. If they believe the condition may be medically treated, they will refer you to the correct doctor. Otherwise, an Audiologist will help you to manage the problem through audible care, which will include hearing aids, audio rehabilitation, or therapy for balance.
Education and Training
Audiologists become professional certified and licensed healthcare providers in the practice of audiology.
Through their training they have to complete:
- A docorate degree in audiology from a certified university
- A year of fellowship or externship
- They have to take state licensing exams
- In order for them to renew their licenses they have continuing education requirements.
Reasons To See An Audiologist
If you suspect that you may have a hearing loss, you should visit an audiologist. The most common signs of hearing loss are:
- If you are turning the volume on the TV or radio up louder than other people would like
- If there is background noise present and you have difficulty understanding speech
- You have difficulty hearing women and children speak, more than men
- You have difficulty hearing when you are in meetings or at a public event.
- When there is no external sound present but you have ringing in one or both ears.
- You have difficulty hearing people with “low voice”
- Always asking people to repeat themselves.
If you have occasional or ongoing dizziness or problems with balance, you should consult an audiologist.
What To Expect At The Audiologist
If you are seeing an audiologist because of dizziness or balance, they perform a detailed assessment to determine:
- The location and cause
- Changes in the balance function
- The link between functional balance and vision, the inner ear and other auditory systems
When you visit an audiologist he will examine the outer ear with an otoscope for external trauma, ear infection or earwax buildup. Then he will begin with audiological tests, which may include:
- Typanometry, measuring the eardrum movement and pressure disparity
- He will do pure-tone testing to see if the patient’s hearing falls within normal limits
- Speech recognition
- Other test of audible function
After these tests are complete, the audiologist will make suggestions for treatment and or/management.