If you or someone close to you experiences hearing loss, then you may want to invest in learning about the ways an audiologist can improve the lives of their patients. Simply put, an audiologist is someone who is a licensed healthcare professional that focuses on diagnosing and treating hearing loss. They have extensive training experience that gives them the skills to evaluate the hearing of all age groups. Through a series of tests, they are able to determine a variety of treatment options that will benefit their patients’ hearing impairment. The tests that audiologists perform are important in the process of determining which type of treatment would suit the patient’s needs the most. Using specialized, calibrated equipment and sound-treated rooms, an audiologist is able to inspect a patient’s ear and compile a diagnosis to reduce or eliminate the consequences of hearing loss. An audiologist’s training enables them to recognize ear, nose, and throat medical problems and efficiently refer the patient to an appropriate physician.
The difference between an audiologist and other similar professionals, such as an otolaryngologist, would be the specific focus on hearing. An otolaryngologist is geared more towards the treatment of more severe cases of hearing loss that require pharmaceutical or surgical treatment. These severe situations, such as the need of a cochlear implant or hearing loss induced by a tumor or infection, are more suited for the medicinal and surgical training of an otolaryngologist rather than an audiologist. If one of these cases were to occur, an otolaryngologist might be in charge of the initial surgery while an audiologist might be referred to in order to prescribe and fit hearing aids or help redevelop communication skills through counseling. It’s important to know which type of professional is more suited to your type of hearing impairment when seeking treatment.
Experience & Responsibilities
Because audiologists have usually obtained a masters or doctoral degree, they are by far the most qualified to handle patients with hearing impairment. Their special training focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing disorders makes them valuable to all people who experience hearing loss. Audiologists are also required to pass a very strict national competency examination, which even further guarantees that anyone in the care of an audiologist will be given the best help possible.
Within the broad task of treating hearing impairments, audiologists are given the role of administering hearing aids. Their vast knowledge of the human auditory and vestibular systems make their fitting and maintenance of hearing aids accurate. Audiologists also play an important role in the development of infants and young children by identifying hearing loss that could potentially impact the child’s social and intellectual skills later in life. The therapy and prescription of hearing aids that audiologists give infants and young children are essential to their future success.
The higher level of experience, training, and credibility of audiologists when compared to other physicians and professionals makes them the best choice when searching for the treatment of hearing loss. Through their help in hearing research, counseling, and conservation programs, audiologists prove themselves to be essential in both the medical community and the patients whose lives they improve.