What are audiologists trained to do?
Audiologists are hearing professionals who diagnose, treat and manage hearing problems for all ages. In order to be considered an audiologist, the audiologist will have received a doctorate degree in audiology or a master’s degree from an audiology graduate program. Audiologists conduct hearing exams, and they fit, adjust, and maintain hearing aids.
Audiologists are also qualified to treat balance disorders and tinnitus, and they can provide hearing and speech rehabilitation programs.
Where do audiologists work?
Audiologists can work in a variety of settings including private hearing clinics, educational facilities, government agencies, hospitals, and in the medical device industry. As a part of their daily work, audiologists work with all age ranges, counsel patients on hearing care solutions, use technology to evaluate patients’ hearing needs, and serve as supervisors and mentors later on in their career.
What can an audiologist do for you?
If you are searching for an expert’s advice on any hearing or balance issues, an audiologist would be the best person to seek out for advice. The audiologist can then provide advice regarding hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), balance issues, wax build up and communication. Audiologists will typically conduct hearing tests and advise on hearing loss solutions (if applicable). If the audiologist feels that you may have a medical issue (like a bacterial infection), they will typically refer you to an ENT doctor who can assess the condition and the potential treatment (which may include a small procedure, medicine, or even surgery). If your audiologist decides that a hearing aid would be a good solution for you, the audiologist will discuss which hearing aids would be good options for your level of hearing loss. Your lifestyle and preferences will also be discussed so that you find the optimal solution for you. The audiologist can also provide further hearing protection advice such as how to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss (which can be caused by loud concerts, lawnmowers, and fireworks, for example). Your audiologist can also educate you about the benefits of using earplugs in loud environments and how to equalize pressure in the ear during diving or traveling in an airplane.
How an audiologist tests your hearing
At a hearing test appointment, your audiologist will first discuss your hearing concerns with you. They will then conduct a brief physical exam of your ear to check for any earwax blockage or potential signs of bacterial infections. The audiologist will then conduct a series of tests which include tone tests and speech and recognition tests. Once your tests are complete, the audiologist will provide counselling on your results and let you know whether you have a hearing loss, and if so, which solutions may be best for you. The results of your test will be plotted on an audiogram which is a graph providing a visual illustration of your hearing loss.