Independence and quality of life are among the devastating consequences of untreated hearing loss, which also contributes to several negative mental and physical health conditions.
The effect impaired hearing has on individuals can be limited or eliminated through hearing care provided by a professional audiologist.
A closer look at audiology and audiologists during National Audiology Awareness Month will help explain why going to an audiologist makes the most sense for ongoing hearing health care.
Audiology Is the Study of Ears
Basically, audiology is the study of hearing, but it also includes other areas of study like balance, vertigo, and other disorders associated with the ears.
Modern audiology began in the late 1940s as doctors sought solutions for treating returning service members who have noise-induced hearing loss.
By the 1960s, audiology had advanced significantly as new programs and treatments related to speech and aural rehabilitation became more common.
However, due to digital technology, the past two decades have seen the most significant advancements in both diagnostic and treatment within the field of audiology.
Doctors of Audiology Specialize in Ears
Doctors of Audiology or audiologists are doctors licensed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or the American Board of Audiologists to specialize in providing hearing health care.
They are healthcare professionals involved in evaluating their patients’ ability to hear sounds, aural communication, balance, and vertigo, as well as the treatment of individuals with ear-related disorders.
Audiologists typically engage in practices that include:
- Communication through speech and language
- Anatomy of the ear, auditory nerves and how the brain processes sound
- Identifying the causes of hearing loss
- Aural rehabilitation to improve speech and communication (lip reading, sign language, etc.)
- Hearing aids, assisted listening devices, and other hearing technology
A hearing assessment is usually the first step to the process of receiving hearing care from an audiologist.
Their comprehensive evaluation detects different types of hearing loss, the severity of hearing impairment, and identifies the best therapies and treatment to restore hearing.
Audiologists treat individuals with balance and vertigo issues and set up screening, educational, and hearing care programs for schools and other institutions.
Why Seeing an Audiologist Makes the Most Sense for Hearing Healthcare
Audiologists are bridging the gap between two different hearing care providers. Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of health issues related to the ears, nose, and throat (ENT).
They typically work closely with audiologists on cases where each can benefit from the specialized treatment provided by the other, but ENTs typically don’t focus on hearing aids.
Hearing aid specialists, whose primary focus is on testing and fitting their clients with hearing aids are at the other end of the spectrum.
Though they are certified by the state to dispense hearing devices and often partner with audiologists, they are not doctors.
Following best practices to achieve the best results with ongoing hearing care is the primary focus of an audiologist.
As it has become easier to self-diagnose hearing impairment using online screenings designed to sell hearing aids and assistive listening devices, many individuals have failed to receive the hearing care they really need due to both an inaccurate diagnosis and a treatment option with the potential to cause greater damage.
In many cases, more serious medical conditions are glanced over without ever being identified, which is less likely with a hearing assessment conducted by a doctor of audiology.
Ongoing Hearing Healthcare Is the Focus of Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates
Your quality of life, independence, and potential mental and physical health problems could be at risk due to hearing loss.
An accurate assessment of your condition and treatment options customized to treat your specific condition is the focus of the audiologists at Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates.
Your ongoing hearing health rather than our hearing instruments are our primary focus. If you or someone you love struggles with hearing loss, contact us to set up a hearing assessment conducted with proper protocols to protect your health or book a tele audiology consultation instead.