Who is an Audiologist (AUD)?

An audiologist is a hearing doctor who evaluates everything related to your hearing and your ear health. To do so, they will take measurements and gather information about your medical and family history. From this, they can provide honest and productive counsel, and also offer a rehabilitative treatment modality or plan for your unique hearing condition. As a multitude of factors can cause hearing loss, the audiologist’s role is to help identify the root cause of your hearing loss. The audiologist prescribes a customized treatment plan that has the highest probability of helping curb your hearing loss. The audiologists come from a multitude of disciples, including counseling, physiology, anatomy, physics, rehabilitation, perceptions and acoustics of the auditory system. They can take a multidisciplinary or multi-variable approach to help prescribe the best treatment for you.

Role of An Audiologist in Getting the Correct Hearing Care

An Audiologist is a hearing healthcare doctor who:

  • Identify, test, diagnose, and manage disorders of human hearing, balance, and tinnitus; interpret test results of behavioral and objective measures
  • Counsel patients about hearing health and the possible need for treatment/management
  • Assess the candidacy of persons with hearing loss for hearing aids and cochlear implants and provide fitting, programming, and audiologic rehabilitation to ensure the best possible outcomes 
  • Supervise and conduct newborn hearing screening programs
  • Evaluate and manage children and adults with central auditory processing disorders 
  • Screen speech-language, the use of sign language, and other factors affecting communication function for the purposes of audiologic evaluation and/or initial identification of individuals with other communication disorders

Management and Treatment:

  • Perform otoscopic examination of ear canals and ear drum, manage the removal of excessive cerumen, and make ear impressions
  • Recommend and provide hearing aid selection, fitting, and programming
  • Recommend and provide hearing assistive technology systems (HATS) 
  • Recommend and provide audiologic rehabilitation—including speech reading, communication management, language development, and auditory skill development 
  • Perform assessment and non-medical management of tinnitus
  • Counsel and educate patients and families/caregivers on the psycho-social adjustments of hearing loss.

What are the different signs of hearing loss?

The average person does not know how to recognize the first signs of hearing impairment. They are usually unaware as to who to turn to in order to deal with their newfound hearing problem. Many suffer in silence or attempt to have their problem solved by a healthcare professional who does not specialize in hearing loss and related disorders. Furthermore, hearing loss can be caused by a myriad of different factors, including certain medications, natural aging, blunt force trauma to the eardrum or inner ear, exposure to loud noises, certain illnesses, an ear infection or even an ear disease. It is highly recommended to consult with a qualified audiologist in order to receive an accurate diagnosis.

10 commonly seen signs of hearing loss are as follows:

  1. Difficulty hearing over the telephone
  2. Trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time
  3. People around you seem to be mumbling (no clarity in speech)
  4. You are told frequently that you talk too loudly
  5. People complain that you turn the TV volume up too high
  6. Have trouble hearing in noisy background
  7. Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  8. Misunderstanding what others say and respond incorrectly
  9. Having trouble understanding the speech especially of women and children
  10. Difficulty locating the source of sound or pointing at the direction of the sound

When do you consult an Audiologist?

You typically have to consult an Audiologist and get your hearing assessment done once in 6 months or at least once a year after you turn 40 years of age or as soon as you start noticing any signs of hearing loss.

Can you walk into an Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist (ASLP) directly or do you need referrals from other healthcare professionals to do so?

Yes, you can absolutely visit an Audiologist and Speech Language Pathologist (ASLP) directly. You do not always need a referral from other healthcare professionals to visit a qualified ASLP. Anybody with hearing issues and speech & language issues can directly walk-in to a hearing and speech clinic.

What happens if the hearing loss and Speech disorders are ignored or left untreated in Children?

In children, if hearing loss and Speech disorders are ignored and appropriate hearing aids are not provided, it may lead to ”Delayed Speech And Language” or ”Dysfluent Speech” or “Deaf-Mutism” accompanied by “Poor Self Confidence”, “Poor Academic Performance”, “Low Self-Esteem”, “Depression” & “Identity Crisis”

What happens if the hearing loss is ignored or left untreated in Adults?

In adults, if hearing loss is ignored and appropriate hearing aids are not provided, the auditory nerve gets deprived of sounds for longer periods of time. This phenomenon is called “Auditory Deprivation” which results in the degeneration of the auditory nerve caused due to “Disuse Atrophy”.

What happens if an individual with hearing loss does not choose to wear hearing aids?

Due to “Social Stigma” towards hearing loss most individuals with hearing loss “Do Not” wear hearing aids which leads to a series of adverse effects on the individual’s “Mental Health” such as “Social Isolation”, “Stress”, ”Anger”,  “Depression” ,”Auditory Fatigue”, “Age Related Cognitive Decline”, “Poor Quality of Life” & “Dementia” or “Memory Loss”.

Does long-standing hearing loss and “Auditory Deprivation” affect the individual’s behaviors?

Yes, Individuals with long-standing hearing loss and “Auditory Deprivation” tend to develop certain behavioral shortcomings (bad habits) such as “Avoidance Behaviors”, “Maladaptive Behaviors” & “Compensatory Strategies” to cope with situations where they have to communicate with their friends and family. Once learnt it is difficult to “Unlearn” these undesirable habits or behaviors. Hence, it is advised to wear appropriate hearing aids as soon as the hearing loss is detected or diagnosed

Should there be any questions or concerns, please speak to your Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist (ASLP) at the earliest!!