An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing hearing and balance disorders. Audiologists play a crucial role in identifying hearing loss, conducting hearing evaluations, and recommending proper interventions to improve patients’ hearing ability.
Audiologists, just like other healthcare professionals work with patients of all ages, from newborns to elderly, and are trained to identify a variety of hearing and balance disorders. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, schools, and community health centers.
Audiologists use a variety of diagnostic tools and techniques to assess hearing and balance function in patients. These may include pre-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, immittance testing, otoacoustic emissions testing, and auditory brainstem response testing.
In addition to diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders, audiologists are also involved in hearing and balance research. As an audiologist performs so many tasks, there can be a lot of scenarios that can take you to one of them. Here are some reasons for you to visit an audiologist.
One of the most common reasons why people visit audiologists is hearing loss. Hearing loss can occur for many reasons and can affect people of all ages. Age-related hearing loss, or presbycusis is the most common cause of hearing loss among older adults.
Younger people on the other hand can develop hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise, ear infections, or generic factors. An audiologist can help diagnose the cause and degree of hearing loss through various tests, such as pure-tone audiometry, speech audiometry, and many others.
Based on the results of the tests mentioned above, the audiologist can recommend appropriate treatment options. These may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices. The audiologist can also provide counseling and education to help the patient.
Another common reason for someone to visit an audiologist is tinnitus. It is a condition characterized by ringing, buzzing, or other sounds in the ears or head. This disease can be caused by exposure to loud noise, age-related hearing loss, medications, or head injuries.
An audiologist can help diagnose this problem by conducting a comprehensive hearing evaluation. If the tinnitus is related to hearing loss, the audiologist may recommend hearing aids or other assistive devices. An audiologist can also help the patient manage tinnitus symptoms.
Vertigo is a symptom of an underlying vestibular disorder, which refers to the balance system in the inner ear. Inner ear disorders, such as Meniere’s disease or vestibular migraine, can cause vertigo. Other causes of vertigo may include head injuries, certain medications, and infections.
An audiologist can assess a patient’s balance by conducting a variety of tests including (VNG) or (ENG). Based on the results of these tests, the audiologist recommends appropriate treatment options that can reduce the symptoms of vertigo.
An audiologist can also conduct hearing screenings, which are quick assessments of hearing sensitivity. These are mostly conducted in schools, community centers, and workplaces to identify people who may have hearing loss.
Hearing screenings are not as comprehensive as hearing evaluations, but they can quickly identify people who may have hearing loss and need further evaluation.