How to Find an Audiologist
There are around 28 million people currently living in the US who do not realize that they have a problem with their hearing. Hearing can deteriorate slowly meaning that many fail to detect changes in their ability to hear certain pitches and ones. Furthermore, hearing loss can occur at any time from birth - it’s not just something that affects seniors.
How to find an audiologist
If you think that you might be suffering from hearing loss (or even if you do not), it’s a good idea to seek the help of an audiologist. An audiologist is a qualified professional who can characterize the nature of your hearing loss and provide options for treatment. Your hearing loss could be caused by something transitory - such as a blocked ear canal - or it could be the result of a longer-term condition, such as degradation of the inner ear. Audiologists can diagnose the issue, recommend treatment, and give patients peace of mind.
You can go and see an audiologist independently, or get a referral from your GP. General practitioners are likely to refer you to an audiologist if you tell them that you’re struggling to hear sounds at specific pitches or individual voices in a loud room.
Since 2007, audiologists in the US are required to hold a doctorate in audiology from a recognized university. Your audiologist may have one of two different varieties of doctorate: an Au. D. which is a clinical doctorate, or a PhD. in audiology, a research doctorate. Look for audiologists with either of these qualifications to ensure that you’re getting the best possible care.
Trained audiologists are experts at evaluating the state of your auditory system. When you visit an audiologist, they will perform a variety of tests to discover the cause of any hearing loss. These tests are entirely pain-free and minimally-invasive. A typical session with an audiologist lasts about 30 minutes to an hour and involves sitting in a soundproof booth listening to sounds played through a pair of headphones. Other tests can include a visual inspection of the ear canal and checks to make sure that the bones in the ear are properly conducting sound waves.
In the US, you do not need certification to fit hearing aids. It is, however, advisable to see a trained audiologist because they have the knowledge to set up a hearing aid properly according to your needs.
Always ask questions
Not all those calling themselves ear-specialists are trained audiologists with a relevant doctorate. Seeing somebody without these qualifications may put your long-term ear health at risk.
Ask your audiologist pertinent questions when you first meet them, including what qualifications they hold and the training and experience that they have.
Get in touch with the ear, nose and throat department at your local hospital. They should be able to put you in contact with certified audiologists in your area.
Also, you can check the American Academy of Audiology to see whether the expert you’re seeing is a member. You can only be a member of the Academy if you have the right qualifications.