What Is an Audiologist and When Do You Need One?

An audiologist is a specialized medical practitioner who deals with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing disorders. In order to provide these services, audiologists must receive a Doctorate degree in Audiology from a registered and accredited University. To find out more about the practice of audiology, and how it can benefit you, we got in touch with the professionals at House of Hearing Clinic, the audiologists Toronto residents highly recommend for hearing tests, hearing aids and other services.

What Does an Audiologist Do?

Audiologist Showing Female Patient Model Of Human EarThe primary function of an audiologist is to evaluate hearing, determine the cause of a hearing disorder and diagnose the condition. They use a range of hearing tests and equipment for this type of assessment and to arrive at a diagnosis. Evaluation tests chosen depend largely upon the type of symptoms and medical history related to an individual patient.

Audiologists also provide a range of treatments for the following hearing conditions or disorders:

– Ear wax removal
Tinnitus which is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears
– Traumatic injuries to the inner, middle and outer ear that could affect hearing
– Hearing loss due to any cause

The most common treatment provided by an audiologist is the selection, fitting, and management of hearing aids in order to improve or enhance the hearing of a patient. The choice of hearing aid is largely dependent on the extent of the hearing loss and the causes.

An audiologist will see a patient regularly to determine the progression of the hearing loss as well as to evaluate the success of a prescribed hearing aid. Specialist CI audiologists may perform cochlear implant surgery to permanently solve hearing loss problems in patients who are suitable for this type of procedure.

Not all audiologists can perform this type of surgery, and a patient may be referred to a specialist if it is determined that their condition can benefit from the procedure. This is often a last resort as surgery carries certain risks and is often only recommended for patients with extreme or total hearing loss.

When Should You See an Audiologist?

Audiologist examining elderly patient's eardrum with auroscope.Your first hearing test should be performed when you are of school going age (around 5 or 6 years old). This test is to determine whether any hearing problems or disorders are present.

It is not necessary to see an audiologist again unless:

– The audiologist diagnosed a hearing disorder in early childhood
– If you experience difficulty hearing
– When you experience any ringing sounds in your ears either constantly or consistently
– You experience problems with balance that could be related to an inner ear condition
– You want to upgrade or replace an existing hearing aid device
– You have suffered a traumatic injury to the ear

In most cases, hearing loss is not sudden and rather a progression. This can make it difficult for people losing their hearing to identify that they may have a problem. Signs to look for include:

– Asking people to repeat themselves regularly
– Avoiding social interactions
– Needing to constantly increase television, radio or music volume
– An inability to recognize high pitched sounds or voices

If at any time you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about your hearing, make an appointment to be professionally assessed by an audiologist.