An audiologist is a medical professional who specialises in evaluating, diagnosing and treating individuals with hearing loss and problems with their ears such as tinnitus and balance disorders. Audiologists undergo extensive training in order to successfully evaluate the hearing of adults, infants, and children of all ages. Furthermore, audiologists can provide a variety of treatment options for people with hearing impairments and other problems, as well as providing hearing rehabilitation training and dispensing and fitting hearing aids. An audiologist will conduct a wide variety of tests in order to determine the precise nature of a person’s hearing problem.
You may need to see an audiologist if your doctor believes that you are suffering from hearing loss or balance problems. If you have noticed that your hearing has gotten worse over time, or that you are struggling to hear conversations or other sounds around you that you formerly would have been able to hear, then you may need to visit an audiologist. Similarly, if you have noticed a ringing noise in your ears, similar to that often experienced when people leave a noisy club or gig, this could be a sign of tinnitus, and is another reason you should visit an audiologist. Furthermore, if you have experienced or are experiencing balance problems an audiologist could help diagnose and treat this problem, so it is advisable to see one out.
An audiologist can help you in providing a course of treatment for your hearing loss or ear problems. This is often a joint decision between the patient and the audiologist, who can together discuss treatment options such as hearing aids. An audiologist can also decide whether you might need a hearing mould or whether you have an open ear fit, which is a hearing aid without an ear mould. You will also be given information about what other equipment and services could be helpful for your hearing loss.
When you have an appointment with an audiologist you can expect that he or she will go through the history of your hearing loss, check your ears for wax and any possible infections or other conditions. They will also discuss with you how severe your hearing loss is and how it is having an impact on your life. It is likely that an audiologist will also do a common hearing check as well as full assessment of your hearing loss. This often takes around 20 minutes and tests each ear through headphones pressing for sounds at different frequencies or pitches. This will happen until the audiologist has gotten your ‘threshold of hearing’, or in other words, the quietest sound you can hear at each pitch. The result is a full audiogram, and once one has been retrieved discussions about treatment should take place.