An audiologist is a healthcare professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular systems of the ear. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage, and/or treat hearing or balance problems. Audiologists with a master’s degree are currently able to practice in the field; however, as of 2012, audiologists must earn a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree. The profession of audiology is dedicated to the diagnosis and rehabilitation of hearing loss.
An audiologist can provide answers to questions like these:
• What do you do when you find out that you or a loved one has a hearing loss?
• Who do I turn to for quality hearing health care?
• Can my hearing loss be helped with hearing aids?
• What are the different types of hearing loss?
An audiologist is the professional who specializes in evaluating and treating people with hearing loss. They have extensive training and skills in evaluating the hearing of adults, infants, and children of all ages. Audiologists conduct a wide variety of tests to determine the exact nature of an individual’s hearing problem, and they present an array of treatment options to patients with hearing impairment. They dispense and fit hearing aids, administer tests of balance to evaluate dizziness, and provide hearing-rehabilitation training. Audiologists refer patients when the hearing problem needs medical or surgical evaluation.
Why should someone with hearing loss be evaluated by an audiologist?
Audiologists hold master’s or doctoral degrees from accredited universities with special training in the prevention, identification, assessment, and nonmedical treatment of hearing disorders. They are now required to attend at least a one-year full-time internship and pass a demanding national competency examination. By virtue of their graduate education, professional certification, and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, refer patients for medical treatment, and provide hearing-rehabilitation services.
What do audiologists do?
Audiologists perform comprehensive diagnostic hearing tests. They use specialized equipment to obtain accurate results about hearing loss. These tests are typically conducted in sound-treated rooms with calibrated equipment. The audiologist is trained to inspect the eardrum with an otoscope, perform earwax removal if necessary, conduct diagnostic audiologic tests, and check for medically related hearing problems.
Hearing loss is caused by medical problems about 10% of the time. Audiologists are educated and trained to recognize these medical problems and refer patients to ear, nose, and throat physicians (ENTs; also known as otolaryngologists) if necessary. ENTs cannot medically or surgically treat 90% of hearing loss cases. Most persons with hearing impairment can benefit from the use of hearing aids, and audiologists are knowledgeable about the latest applications of hearing aid technology.
Audiologists also provide:
• Hearing services and counseling
• Hearing aids and assistive listening devices
• Hearing conservation programs
• Hearing research
Finding an audiologist
Finding a local audiologist can be as easy as answering a few simple questions. First, is there a licensed and experienced audiologist on staff? Then consider:
1. In determining whether a hearing device is appropriate, will the audiologist speak to you clearly about your hearing loss, lifestyle, manual dexterity, and budget?
2. Will you receive assistance and training regarding how to wear and care for your hearing devices, as well as how to adjust to wearing them?
3. Does the clinic offer lengthy trial periods, warranties, and loss-and-damage protection?
4. Will they provide follow-up care at least every six months?
If you have answered “Yes” to all of these questions, you can rest assured that you have taken the right steps in finding a reputable AudigyCertified™ audiology clinic. Once you find a clinic you are comfortable with, schedule an appointment for an initial consultation and hearing test.
What is unique about being AudigyCertified?
Being AudigyCertified requires us to keep the highest standards of care in the nation with the highest level of credentialing in America as well as to keep current on changes in the hearing care industry. Our mission is to provide high-quality hearing solutions in order to improve the quality of life of our patients and their families. To find an AudigyCertified practice near you, please visit https://www.agxhearing.com/providers/.