Do you think audiologists are there just for hearing aids?

Actually, correcting hearing loss is a small part of an audiologist’s remit. An audiologist is educated to degree level and beyond in all matters concerning hearing health. This means they are experts in hearing loss, but also qualified to address balance issues and the uncomfortable ringing in the ears that is tinnitus.

#1: Trouble with tinnitus

Are you haunted by phantom noise? Do you constantly hear the whir of an air-conditioning unit, even though there isn’t one in the building? If so, you could well be suffering from tinnitus.

This condition can be the result of different underlying causes, from the straightforward to the sinister. For example:

  • A buildup of ear wax
  • Noise induced damage
  • Ear infections
  • Tumors of the middle ear
  • Medications that damage the inner ear
  • Meniere’s disease

An invaluable tool for getting to grips with tinnitus is to get a full hearing assessment made by a qualified audiologist. This maps out any ear-related components to the tinnitus to suggest a way forward that alleviates the intrusive noise.

In some cases, this may mean fitting a hearing device, since tinnitus can be a bizarre symptom of hearing loss. Other times, the audiologist can advise you about white noise machines, noise-cancelling devices or relaxation techniques which help you to adapt to life with a troubling background noise in the ears.

#2: Bothersome balance

Firstly, if you suffer from sudden attacks of dizziness or poor balance, then get checked out by a medical practitioner. However, when you get the all clear yet still feel dizzy, the next stop should be your audiologist.

When tests for external factors, such as high blood pressure, come back normal then you are well advised to shift focus to the ear because an important part of the balance mechanism is located within the inner ear.

Problems that can interfere with this mechanism include:

  • Ear infections
  • A foreign object lodged in the ear canal
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Damage to the inner ear

Again, your audiologist will physically examine the outer ear and ear canal and run a full hearing test. This profiles not only your ability to hear, but also where about along the hearing pathway the problems arise. If an inner ear issue is illuminated, this could well be relevant to your balance issues.

The audiologist may well then be able to know what triggers a dizziness attack and suggest some strategies to cope with it.

So remember, an audiologist is definitely not a one trick pony. They are qualified medical professionals equipped to diagnose and treat all manner of ear and auditory related conditions. If you are concerned about your health then a visit to an audiologist should not replace the role of your physician, but they can be a valuable addition to the team in order to reach a diagnosis and strike out with a treatment plan.