If you find yourself saying, “huh?” or “what?” a lot, tend to have people tell you the television is too loud or you begin avoiding social situations because following conversations has become a difficult chore, you may be suffering from undiagnosed hearing loss. If that sounds like you, don’t worry – you’re not alone. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, roughly one in eight Americans age 12 and older have some form of hearing loss in one or both ears. If you suspect you may be suffering from hearing loss, it is time to set up an appointment with an audiologist.

What does an audiologist do?

Audiologists are trained medical professionals who can evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage hearing loss, balance disorders and other auditory issues, such as tinnitus. Audiologists work with people of all ages, from infants who may have been born with hearing loss, to those within the aging population whose hearing loss has come on naturally and gradually with time.

Additionally, audiologists are trained to:

  • Examine patients using hearing tests
  • Diagnose the type and degree of hearing loss in a patient
  • Prescribe and fit hearing aids
  • Perform ear or hearing related surgical monitoring
  • Create and implement newborn hearing screening programs and other tools for children with hearing loss
  • Offer and implement hearing rehabilitation training techniques

How does one become an audiologist?

Because audiology is a specialized medicine, those wishing to become audiologists must train and attend a college or university in order to obtain an advanced degree in audiology. After earning a degree, audiologists will have to become licensed in their state of operation. Sometimes, audiologists also become certified by hearing loss associations to remain up-to-date on their standards of practice.

Where can I see an audiologist?

If you are in need of making an appointment with an audiologist, rest assured that they are plentiful and work in a variety of settings. Many audiologists have private practices or are part of a group practice. Audiologists can be found in larger settings, too, such as hospitals, schools of all grades, long-term care facilities, VA hospitals, government agencies or larger clinics. Where you decide to go likely depends on any insurance coverage that might help pay for your visit.

What can I expect at the appointment?

During your first visit with an audiologist, they will ask you several questions in order to best understand your hearing health history. After compiling these answers, they will perform a variety of pain-free tests to help identify the type, degree and cause of your hearing loss. From there, the audiologist will be able to recommend the best solution to help combat the hearing loss.