Who are audiologists? They are trained hearing healthcare professionals who evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing disorders including hearing loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, and balance issues in patients of all ages. Audiologists receive the highest education which includes a Doctor of Audiology degree from an accredited university, as well as are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Audiologist who hold a master’s degree currently practice in the field, however, since 2012 new audiologists are now required to hold a doctoral degree. They also must be licensed to dispense hearing aids in the state they practice in. Audiologists are highly educated in all aspects of hearing health and disorders of the ear.
What Services Does an Audiologist Offer?
Audiologists offer a wide range of services that can help with hearing loss, auditory processing, tinnitus, and balance disorders. Audiologist can perform otoscopic examinations of the ear canal and ear drum, checking for ear infections or cerumen (earwax) build-up which they can safely remove. Making ear impressions for custom hearing protection is a specialty audiologists perform, as well as recommend and provide hearing aids, fittings, and programming of devices.
Hearing aids are not the only device audiologists are knowledgeable about, they can also work with assistive listening devices to better help their patients hear. They recommend and provide audiologic rehabilitation, including speech reading, communication management, language development, and auditory skill development.
Audiologists also assist with the management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as well as provide counselling and education for patients — and family members. Audiologists work with patients of all ages, from children to adults. They can perform pediatric audiological evaluations and even fit young children with hearing aids. They also provide cochlear implant counseling to help children and their families adjust to cochlear implants and make the transition more successful.
Do Audiologists Only Help with Hearing Loss?
Audiologists are trained to help with more than just hearing loss and hearing aids. They are able to help with balance disorders and tinnitus as well. Balance disorders, such as vertigo, originate from the inner ear. Because our sense of balance comes from within our inner ear in the cochlea, audiologists are able to help us feel steady again and can perform vestibular testing. Because the cochlea is closely located to the hearing nerve, if damage occurs in that area, both our hearing and balance can suffer. Generally, if you have hearing loss due to head or ear trauma, then you will experience dizziness as well. Visiting an audiologist can help you combat both your hearing loss and balance disorder as they are certified to treat both conditions.
Many audiologists are also trained in the diagnosis and management of tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Around 50 million Americans experience tinnitus to some degree, even people who don’t have hearing loss can hear a ringing in their ears. Audiologists are qualified to provide tinnitus counseling and management, to help soothe the ringing in your ears. Some other ways audiologists treat tinnitus include vitamin therapy, biofeedback, hypnosis, electrical stimulation, relaxation therapy, and tinnitus masking hearing aids. Using these approaches, audiologists can successfully help you manage your tinnitus and hear peacefully again.
Audiologists are passionate about helping their patient’s experience better hearing. From hearing loss to balance disorders, audiologists can help with a wide range of hearing and ear related problems. They do their best to educate the public on the effects of untreated hearing loss so more people will seek help. Discover local audiologists in your area today and see how they can help you.