Do you or someone you know have hearing loss? If so, it is likely time to visit an audiologist.

An audiologist is known as a doctor of hearing health. A trained audiologist specializes in patient-centered care in the prevention, identification and diagnosis of hearing and other auditory disorders. An audiologist possesses the knowledge and skills to fully assess, identify, manage and treat hearing loss in patients of all ages, from infants to seniors.

Assessing a hearing health issue

Assessment of one’s auditory system is a key component to the work of an audiologist. Assessments will help the audiologist determine the type and degree of hearing loss in each ear. Audiologists are trained to perform many types of examinations to help determine if a patient has hearing loss. These types of tests include:

  • Pure-tone testing
  • Tuning fork tests
  • Bone conduction tests
  • Hearing aid evaluation
  • Speech reception and word recognition tests
  • Otoacoustic emissions tests
  • Auditory brain stem response tests

Identifying the type of hearing loss

All of the tests performed by an audiologist provide results that they will assess. An individual can suffer from three types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive or mixed. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs with damage to the inner ear or the pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot be conducted through the out ear canal to the eardrum of the middle ear. Lastly, as the name indicates, mixed hearing loss is a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Treating hearing loss

Once an audiologist as identified the type degree of hearing loss a patient suffers from, they will move onto management. Management of hearing loss includes many treatment options, as well as educating a patient on how to help prevent additional hearing loss and how to cope with one’s condition. Hearing loss treatment solutions include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Assistive listening devices, such as amplified telephones, television amplifiers, FM systems and alerting devices

Follow-up care

Audiologists are committed physicians who want to better the lives of their patients. As such, they provide ample follow-up care to ensure any prescribed treatments continue to work well for their patients. Those who visit and are treated by an audiologist can expect to build a lasting relationship.