What is an Audiologist? What Do They Do?
Updated: Jan 28
Audiologists are health care professionals or experts who detect, evaluate, treat and manage disorders of balance, hearing and other neural systems. They assist all patients, ranging from newborns to older adults. They provide professional services to improve the involvement of the patients in essential activities in their lives and enhance their quality of life.
We can find audiologists in private practices, hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, schools, colleges and universities, military, rehabilitation centers, and residential health care facilities. Their services help with managing issues related to hearing and balance such as hearing loss prevention, hearings aids, assistive technology, dizziness, hearing screening and testing, and tinnitus. They select the right custom-fit hearing aids and other types of assistive listening devices according to the case the patient has. They help with the fitting and any difficulty the patient might be facing using these gadgets and their accessories. They help prevent and treat hearing loss and balance problems by determining the kind and degree of hearing loss and sharing information on different ways to help protect hearing. They do that using audiometers, which allow them to figure out the exact extent of hearing damage the patient is suffering from. They also aid patients in coping with tinnitus, or ringing of the ears.
There are many indications that compel the patient to see an audiologist. Sometimes, patients feel as if those around them are mumbling and what they’re saying is unclear. It’s hard for them to understand what others are saying in noisy environments. They have relentless ringing on their head or ears. They need to turn the volume up on their phones, TV or other devices.
Audiologists provide individualized appointments to each patient where each appointment is different. During the first appointment, they discuss with the patients their medical history and the symptoms they’re suffering from concerning balance or hearing issues. They ask how long the symptoms have started and if they are consistent or come and go. Some of the tests they do are otoscopes- examining the eardrum, tympanometry- measuring the eardrum movement and variation of pressure, hearing screening- checking the level of hearing loss, speech recognition, and otoacoustic emissions- measuring the response of the inner ear to sound. Then they provide a medical assessment. Based on that, they can continue and provide recommendations and treatments such as hearing aids, balance therapy and aural rehabilitation. If they think your condition can be treated medically, then they will refer you to the right doctor. They neither perform surgery nor prescribe medications. In addition to all that, they follow up with the patient through regular checks to change the treatment process when there’s a change in the range of hearing and to keep an eye on the progress the patient is undergoing by keeping records.
Having the ability to hear and communicate is very important to be connected to the world around you. Your audiologist will help you do that by sharing different ways to protect your hearing and providing several treatment techniques. In short, they are the first ones you should refer to when facing any hearing problem.