October is Audiology Awareness Month, a great time to bring awareness to what audiologists do, who we can help, and how.
First, what is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a degreed professional who specializes in the diagnosis and non-medical treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus and balance disorders.
The Path to Audiology
Audiologists receive extensive education in hearing and balance disorders. These professionals have earned postgraduate masters and/or doctoral degrees. A doctoral degree is now required for graduates practicing after 2012. Look for the initials Au.D., (Doctor of Audiology – clinical degree); or Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy – research and/or clinical research degree); to designate doctoral training.
An Audiologist’s Skills
Second, what can audiologists do?
- Test hearing and balance.
- Recommend, fit, service and adjust hearing aids.
- Recommend and provide assistive listening devices (products to enhance telephone conversations, television viewing, etc.).
- Provide tinnitus evaluation, treatment and management.
- Provide education regarding the effects of noise on hearing and prevention of hearing loss, along with recommending and fitting hearing protection.
- Deliver counseling and aural rehabilitation (counseling, education, auditory training/exercises).
- Make medical referrals to a physician when appropriate for issues such as ear pain, drainage from the ear, sudden hearing loss, cochlear implantation, medical conditions, etc.
Third, there are literally hundreds of hearing aids available with a wide variety of features. Because hearing aids are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they must be recommended, prescribed, and fit by licensed professionals. This standard is in place to protect the individual with hearing loss.
An audiologist can use advanced diagnostic testing to determine your type of hearing loss, and can use this information to determine the best hearing aid solution for your specific needs and budget. In fact, a recent study confirmed that individuals who work with an audiologist are more satisfied with their hearing aids.
What Do the Experts Say?
“In my experience, 90 percent of your success with hearing aids is related to the professional you work with and the relationship you establish with your audiologist,” said Tim Steele, Ph.D., FAAA, President, Associated Audiologists.
“All the members of the Associated Audiologists team are doctoral-level professionals, as well as Fellows of the American Academy of Audiology, and they are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association,” Dr. Steele said. “We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of care to our patients, and upholding the codes of ethics from these organizations.”
Call 1-855-547-8745 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctoral-level audiologists today.