How to Choose an Audiologist
Audiologists are highly trained healthcare professionals. In fact, they are the only professionals who are university trained and licensed to specifically identify, evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing disorders.
Audiologists use specialized equipment and procedures to accurately test for hearing loss. These tests are typically conducted in sound treated rooms with calibrated equipment. The audiologist is trained to inspect the eardrum with an otoscope, perform cerumen (ear wax) removal, conduct diagnostic audiologic tests, and check for medically-related hearing problems. By virtue of their education, training, and licensing, they are the most qualified professionals to assess and treat hearing disorders.
Not all hearing healthcare needs are related to hearing aids. In addition to hearing disorders, audiologists are able to assess and treat balance system dysfunctions, and are trained to perform detailed evaluations of balance and equilibrium. Many are also trained in the treatment of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hyperacusis (aversion to loud sounds). Audiologists are also experts in hearing loss prevention, and are able to provide counseling and resources to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss and to monitor hearing and balance disorders that may result from the administration of ototoxic medications, such as chemotherapy.
How does one go about making sure they will be seeing a good audiologist? When it comes to your hearing health, choosing an audiologist is the most important decision you will make. Selecting an audiologist who is licensed, well trained, highly educated, and communicates well is vital to your successful treatment.
Look for an audiologist that displays the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) diploma. Look for a license, not a certificate. Remember, a hearing test is a medical fact finding mission. A diagnostic evaluation has many purposes and goals, some of which have nothing to do with a hearing aid. Not every patient needs a hearing aid. Many need a hearing aid and other care. Some need no hearing aid at all after medical management. Call and interview the practice. Make sure they provide additional patient benefits including: highly personalized care, convenient clinic locations, flexible office hours, diverse selection of hearing aids and state of the art treatment options.