An Audiologist is a professional that will have either their Master’s or Doctoral degree from an accredited university and specializes in the evaluation and non-medical treatment of individuals with hearing loss. Audiologists can provide a full range of services from diagnostic hearing tests to providing different types of rehabilitation such as hearing aids.
Some of the symptoms of hearing loss include: struggling to hear and /or understand speech in normal conversations; frequently asking people to repeat themselves; increasing the volume on the television and radio to “hear” it better; and avoiding social activities because you are embarrassed that you cannot hear well enough to interact appropriately with others.
First, have your hearing evaluated by a trained professional. This will help determine the nature and degree of your hearing loss and help to rule out any conditions that might require medical attention. Temporary hearing loss can be the results of excessive ear wax occluding the ear canal or middle ear infections such as Otitis Media. Most permanent hearing losses can be successfully treated with hearing aids.
Your Audiologist will administer a comprehensive audiological evaluation and take a detailed case history. Although degree and configuration of the hearing loss is a major factor in determining what type of hearing aid is most suitable for an individual; a person’s ear size, lifestyle and personal preferences are also considered factors.
While each person’s experience varies, hearing aids allow an individual to hear sounds they may have not heard for many years. Re-learning takes place in the Central Auditory system, and the brain will need time to adjust to the new level of sounds. You will have a trial period that allows you time to adjust and to determine your benefits.
The cost of hearing aids varies depending on the type of hearing aid and the level of technology. Your audiologist will help you determine the device that best meets your hearing needs at a cost that is affordable. Hearing aids are generally not covered by most insurance companies but you will need to check your individual policy to determine if you have any benefits.
In most cases, you will need to make a separate appointment to be fitted with your hearing aids. This will ensure that your are scheduled for an appropriate amount of time for the audiologist to properly instruct you on the use and care of the hearing aids.
Modem wireless technology is available in most digital hearing aids. New, easy-to-use accessories can be utilized to stream the sound of a TV or cell phone directly to your hearing aids. Microphones worn remotely can also send voices directly to your hearing aids for better understanding in noisy environments.
Hearing impaired individuals can also suffer from a very unsettling condition known as tinnitus (ringing in the ears.) State-of-the-art hearing aids are now capable of combining hearing instrument technology with innovative tinnitus management systems.
Hearing impaired individuals who are exposed to extremely humid and/or dusty environments now experience less hearing aid malfunction due to those factors. Most modern digital hearing aid technology is highly water resistant and waterproof models are available.