What Is an Audiologist?

What They Do & How They Help You Reconnect with the World
Last update on Dec, 28, 2023

You may have a provider for medical, dental, and vision care, but who supports your hearing health journey?

When we experience hearing loss, we struggle to understand speech, follow conversations, and pick up on important sounds in our environment. This can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline and an increased risk of falls and accidents.

Yet, despite hearing's ability to help us stay connected and maintain our independence as we age, most of us have never sought help from a doctor specializing in hearing loss.

Good Hearing = Better Quality of Life

Have you ever experienced being in a noisy environment, such as a crowded restaurant or living room, where you can only hear parts of the conversation in front of you?

You might feel unsure or embarrassed about asking someone to repeat what they said. So, instead, you remain quiet and only observe the conversation—no longer participating in it.

Hearing loss is not something you have to live with, and seeking support from a local hearing care provider is easier than you think!

In this article, we'll explore common questions surrounding audiologists' role in improving hearing health care. We'll also assist you in finding a hearing care provider near you so you can start your journey to better hearing.

What Is an Audiologist?

An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing various hearing issues and loss.

They conduct hearing tests and communication evaluations to determine the severity and type of hearing loss you're experiencing.

Some of the conditions that audiologists manage include:

  • Hearing loss (e.g., sensorineural, hidden, noise-induced, etc.)
  • Auditory processing disorders
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in ears)
  • Dizziness and imbalance

Based on their findings, audiologists will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive devices.

Is an Audiologist a Doctor?

Yes, like a dentist or an optometrist, audiologists are licensed health care professionals with a clinical doctoral degree in audiology (Au.D.). They are highly trained in understanding the anatomy and function of the ear, conducting hearing tests, interpreting results, and helping you find the best hearing aids to treat your hearing loss.

Is an Audiologist the Same as an ENT Doctor?

No. While both are doctors who diagnose ear issues, there are distinct differences between the two and situations when you'll need to seek support from one rather than the other.

Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctors, also called otolaryngologists, are physicians who specialize in the medical and surgical treatment of conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. They diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies
  • Throat infections

They may also perform surgeries, such as tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies, to address specific conditions.

If your hearing issue is related to an underlying medical condition or from ear/head trauma, an ENT doctor can help. Note, however, that your ENT doctor may still refer you to an audiologist if hearing aids are determined to be the appropriate course of treatment for your condition.

What Services Do Audiologists Provide?

Audiologists offer a wide range of solutions to improve your hearing health. Some of the common services they provide for health plan members include:

Comprehensive hearing evaluations

Audiologists employ many specialized examinations and assessments to identify the type and degree of your hearing changes.

These tests may include:

  • Pure-tone audiometry
  • Word recognition and speech in noise testing
  • Tympanometry
  • Otoacoustic emissions testing
  • And more

After carefully analyzing test results, your audiologist can develop customized treatment plans that help you manage your hearing loss and improve your quality of life.

Hearing aid selection and fitting

Audiologists play a critical role in helping you choose and fit your hearing aids. During the selection process, they consider many factors, such as the severity of your hearing loss, communication needs, style preferences, and budget.

Once the hearing aids have been selected and ordered, you will schedule a fitting appointment.

Your audiologist will typically use specialized equipment to measure your ear canal and ear shape to ensure a proper fit. They will program your hearing aids, verify the hearing aid fitting, and adjust the settings to optimize sound quality and ensure you are comfortable with the hearing aids' volume and other features.

Tinnitus management

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. It can be a constant annoyance that affects your lifestyle and is often a symptom of hearing loss.

Your audiologist can help you manage tinnitus by providing a thorough evaluation, identifying the root cause, and recommending personalized treatment options.

Balance Testing and Treatment

Audiologists use different tests to diagnose balance disorders. These tests may include specialized equipment, such as goggles or a rotating chair. Additionally, they evaluate your medical history and perform a physical exam to identify any underlying conditions causing the problem.

Once the diagnosis is made, audiologists develop customized treatment plans that may consist of the following:

  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Balance exercises
  • Lifestyle modifications

These treatments are designed to improve balance and prevent falls, which can be crucial for older adults at greater risk of injury.

Your Hearing Health Journey Starts Today

Ready to take control of your hearing health? At Amplifon Hearing Health Care, we'll help you check your benefits so you understand your coverage options and connect you to a provider in your area.

Our team of experts will also guide you in preparing and feeling confident for your first appointment with an audiologist.

Senior man looking at cell phone

Free Virtual Hearing Screening

If you're unsure whether you need to consult with an audiologist, you can take a free virtual hearing screening to determine your hearing status. Whether you need a hearing evaluation, a new hearing aid, or ongoing care and support, Amplifon Hearing Health is dedicated to helping you get the care you need to hear your favorite sounds again and get back to living life on your terms.

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