October is National Audiology Awareness Month, and understanding the importance of independent audiology care is something that individuals experiencing signs of hearing loss should be aware of at all times.
To understand the importance of independent audiology care, one must understand the role an Audiologist plays in overall hearing care. While there are practitioners who specialize in various aspects of hearing care, Audiologists provide patient-focused, long-term comprehensive hearing care that is vital to reviving and/or protecting one’s hearing. Educational requirements alone separate Audiologists from their counterparts. Audiologists must earn a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree as well as acquire an additional four years of specific academics and training. Following academics, an Audiologist must get licensed in the state they intend to practice in and ensure they follow the necessary continuing education steps to keep the license current. Once licensed, an Audiologist can perform a variety of services including hearing exams, tinnitus or balance disorder treatment, hearing aid fitting and programming, speech rehabilitation, cochlear implant mapping and many more that encompass comprehensive hearing care.
When searching for your hearing care provider, it’s imperative that you distinguish between an Audiologist and other practitioners to receive appropriate care. While highly skilled and educated, ENT’s (Ear, Nose and Throat) physicians treat medical components which involve handling hearing loss that may require surgery, medication, or another type of special treatment. Following treatment, an ENT should refer a patient to an Audiologist for continued hearing care when a hearing loss remains. Another type of practitioner you may come across in your research is a Hearing Instrument Specialist. Some Audiology practices have a Hearing Instrument Specialist on staff to assist with hearing aid fitting and programming and ensure patients receive a hearing aid or device that fulfills their hearing needs.
Are You Experiencing Signs of Hearing Loss?
Do you have trouble hearing high pitched sounds? Are you turning the volume up on your television louder than usual? There are quite a few signs of hearing loss to look out for, and while there are online hearing tests to help you find out if you’re experiencing hearing loss, those tests are no substitutes for comprehensive hearing exams. There are various types of hearing loss that can only be detected by the evaluation skills and equipment provided by an Audiologist. Through an Audiologists’ thorough hearing exam, an accurate hearing loss diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment options can be recommended and implemented.
With the ability to provide proper hearing evaluations comes the ability to provide adequate recommendations on hearing aids. While Hearing Aid Dispensers are authorized to sell hearing aids, they are not as formally educated to understand the neurological deprivation that hearing loss has on the entire communication system. When the need for better hearing arises, it’s imperative that a visit to a local Audiologist be made first to determine your type and degree of hearing loss. Skipping this important step can potentially result in money lost on devices not suited for your hearing needs as well as continued loss of sounds you’ve been missing.
If you believe you’re experiencing signs of hearing loss, don’t wait. The sooner we are able to diagnose your type of hearing loss, the sooner we can begin treatment and help you Hear Life Again! To ask questions or schedule an appointment for a hearing evaluation with Estes Audiology at any of our five Central Texas locations, please visit: HearLifeAgain.com/contact/