What Is an Audiologist and What Do They Do?

fZIk10xQAccording to the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, an audiologist is a health care professional who diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems. An audiologist has earned an Au.D. (Doctorate in Audiology), or Ph.D. Doctoral degree from an accredited university graduate program.

As part of their four-year doctoral training, these audiologists spend a final year completing an externship experience supervised by a licensed audiologist. The externship provides practical, hands-on, advanced experience.

Audiologists Treat People of All Ages

Following graduation from an accredited program, audiologists can diagnose, manage and treat hearing or balance problems for individuals from birth through adulthood including:

  • Test hearing and balance
  • Recommend, service, and adjust hearing aids
  • Recommend and provide assistive listening devices (products to enhance telephone conversations, television viewing, etc.)
  • Provide tinnitus assessment and management
  • Provide education regarding the effects of noise on hearing and prevention of hearing loss
  • Deliver counseling and aural rehabilitation (counseling, education, auditory training/exercises)
  • Audiologists can make medical referrals to a physician when appropriate for issues such as ear pain, drainage from the ear, sudden hearing loss, cochlear implantation, etc.

What Can I Expect from an Audiological Evaluation?

The audiologist will perform a thorough assessment of your hearing, beginning with a review of your personal health history. History questions typically focus on the following areas:

  • Conditions at birth or during adolescence that may have an impact on hearing
  • Exposure to workplace, military, or recreational noise
  • Medications prescribed for medical conditions
  • Past surgeries
  • Family traits and hereditary conditions that may be associated with hearing loss
  • Visual Inspection of the outer ear and ear drum

Following the history, the audiologist will examine your outer ear with an otoscope or video otoscope. The audiologist can observe any damage caused by the use of cotton applicators (“Q-tips”), trauma, or chronic infection. The audiologist can also observe the condition of the eardrum and determine whether the ear canal may have a buildup of earwax causing a hearing loss.

Hearing Evaluation

After considering a patient’s history and performing a visual inspection of the outer ear, the audiologist will perform an audiological evaluation composed of a series of tests. These tests may include but are not limited to:

  • Tympanometry to assess the status of the middle ear
  • Pure tone thresholds by air conduction and often by bone conduction to determine the degree and type of hearing loss
  • Tests of speech threshold and speech recognition to assess comprehension of complex signals
  • Special tests of auditory function, such as otoacoustic emissions, brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER), or balance testing

Why Choose Associated Audiologists

Associated Audiologists is the Kansas City area’s leader in audiologic care for hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders. We have largest team of doctoral-level audiologists in the region, and seven convenient locations to serve you.

Download our free e-book on Tips for Choosing an Audiologist.

Call 1-855-547-8745 or schedule an appointment with one of our doctoral-level audiologists today.