October is a significant month as it marks National Audiology Awareness Month, a time dedicated to highlighting the crucial role of audiologists in promoting and maintaining optimal hearing health. An audiologist is a specialized healthcare professional with extensive knowledge and expertise in identifying, assessing, and managing disorders related to the auditory and vestibular systems. Read on to learn more about how an audiologist can help you with your hearing well-being and when you should seek their help.
What do Audiologists do?
Audiologists are experts in understanding how our ears work and the latest technology related to hearing. They help identify hearing issues and make personalized plans to treat them. They also provide essential support to people trying to improve their hearing.
Additionally, audiologists work hard to improve the lives of those with hearing problems and teach people how to take care of their hearing. They also:
- Assist individuals across all age groups, from infants to older adults.
- Choose, adjust, and distribute hearing aids and similar listening equipment.
- Contribute to helping you avoid hearing impairment. They provide and adjusting protective hearing gear and educating patients on the impact of noise on hearing.
- Contribute to relevant research on preventing, detecting, and treating hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance system issues.
Reasons to See an Audiologist
Noticing any changes in your hearing can be unsettling. Some common signs and symptoms, like struggling to follow conversations, experiencing tinnitus, or feeling discomfort in the ears, could indicate underlying hearing problems. These signs should not be ignored, as they might indicate potential hearing issues impacting your daily life.
Recognizing the importance of seeking professional help when encountering these symptoms is crucial. Consulting an audiologist can provide a comprehensive understanding of your hearing health. It can also facilitate the appropriate solutions to address potential concerns.
Specific scenarios where individuals might need to see an audiologist, such as:
Persistent ear infections or discomfort
If you or your child frequently experience ear infections or discomfort that cause hearing loss, an audiologist can help. They will identify any underlying issues and provide appropriate treatment.
Difficulties with speech or language development
If a child faces speech or language development challenges, an audiologist can assess whether hearing loss contributes to these difficulties and suggest appropriate interventions.
Individuals exposed to high levels of occupational noise, such as construction workers or musicians, should consult an audiologist regularly. This will help monitor their hearing health and receive guidance on hearing protection.
Tinnitus or dizziness
Persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or recurring episodes of dizziness may indicate underlying auditory or vestibular issues. These may require evaluation and management by an audiologist.
Excessive earwax can lead to discomfort and temporary hearing loss. An audiologist can safely remove earwax and provide guidance on proper ear hygiene.
Sudden changes in hearing
Any sudden changes, whether age-related hearing loss or not, should be promptly assessed by an audiologist. It gives a chance to identify the underlying cause and determine appropriate treatment.
Family history of hearing loss
Individuals with a family history of hearing impairment should regularly consult an audiologist for comprehensive hearing assessments to monitor their hearing health and take preventive measures if necessary.
Answering Your Questions
What is the difference between an ear doctor and an audiologist?
The difference between an ear doctor and an audiologist is that an ear doctor, or otolaryngologist (ENT), is a medical doctor who specializes in treating various conditions of the ear, nose, and throat, including surgical interventions.
On the other hand, Audiologists are healthcare professionals who focus on assessing and managing hearing and balance disorders but do not perform surgical procedures.
Do audiologists remove ear wax?
Yes, audiologists are trained to remove ear wax using safe methods such as irrigation, suction, or manual extraction, depending on their training and the regulations in their practice location.
Is it better to get a hearing aid from an audiologist?
When considering a hearing aid, consulting an audiologist is generally recommended. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation and fitting process, ensuring the device is tailored to your hearing needs. While Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids are available, they might not provide the same customization and expertise as a hearing care professional. OTC devices can be a viable option for some, but they may not be able to address complex hearing requirements effectively.
Test Your Ears With a Free Hearing Test
At Beltone Tristate, our experienced hearing care professionals collaborate closely with each patient to understand and address their hearing needs. Whether it’s identifying specific symptoms or exploring improved alternatives to their current hearing aids, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care. Take the first step toward better hearing by scheduling a complimentary hearing test today.