How To Choose The Right Hearing Professional?
Dizziness, ear pain, hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) are all common reasons someone may seek a hearing professional. When you visit an audiologist or other hearing healthcare provider for the first time, choosing the most suitable one may seem like a difficult task. You can select the hearing professional that can provide you with the best solutions for your hearing loss by doing your research. In this post, we’ll be covering three of the most common types of hearing professionals, and providing tips on how to select one.
What do Otolaryngologists do?
Otolaryngologists, more commonly known as Ear, Nose and Throat doctors (ENTs) are medical physicians. They specialized in those three specific parts of the body, but today we will focus on ear-related issues. If you have vertigo (dizziness), sudden hearing loss, ear pain, or a possible ear infection it is important to seek medical treatment from an ENT. Otolaryngologists may also provide head and neck surgeries such as removing tumors, cochlear implants, or inserting tubes to relieve middle ear fluid.
What do Audiologists do?
Audiologists are professionals who specialize in hearing and balance. Although they are not medical doctors, they do hold an educational doctoral degree. Audiologists will have the designation of AuD. (Doctor of Audiology), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or ScD (Doctor of Science).
Audiologists work with individuals who have concerns about their hearing and may need a hearing aid or cochlear implant. They are also extensively trained on the many different conditions that can affect one’s hearing, andy take into consideration that we hear with our brain and not with our ears.
A person’s attention, memory, and cognitive state can affect their ability to hear. Audiologists not only dispense hearing aids for hearing loss, but they also work closely with their patients on auditory training. Audiologists can also specialize in tinnitus management. If you have bothersome ringing in your ears, an audiologist can perform specific tests to match the tinnitus sound and provide various tools to reduce the awareness of that sound.
If you are experiencing vertigo or other problems with balancing, seeing an audiologist could help. They can perform tests to assess your vestibular (balance) system. They also often work closely with ENTs since medical causes for hearing or balance issues need to be ruled out.
What do Hearing Aid Dispensers do?
Hearing aid dispensers are licensed by the state to dispense hearing aids. The requirements for licensure are a high school diploma or equivalent, six months of hearing aid training, and passing a state licensing exam. Once licensed, they can perform hearing tests for the purpose of dispensing hearing aids.
If you have any hearing or ear-related concerns, it is important that you contact the appropriate professional to ensure you receive prompt care. For any type of hearing professional you intend to see, it’s important that you ask them a few questions to ensure that you will be receiving the satisfactory level of service you deserve.
Questions to Ask a Hearing Professional
- Do you ever send a patient for a medical examination to rule out the necessity for medication or surgery?
- Do you offer a detailed analysis and explanation of your test results, treatment alternatives, and possible hearing aid recommendations?
- Will you provide my primary care doctor with a report containing the test results?
- As opposed to a hearing aid franchise, which only offers one brand of hearing aids, does your clinic provide a variety of manufacturers?
- Would I be given guidance on how to use and maintain my hearing aids as well as how to get used to wearing them?
If the answers provided to these questions are a resounding “yes,” you can be more certain that your hearing professional will be adequately equipped to handle all your hearing concerns.