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What Does an Audiologist Do?
Audiologists are professionals that specialize in the hearing and balance of patients. They can help people who have a hearing loss or balance problem by providing them with audiometric testing, fitting them with an appropriate hearing aid and educating them on their condition. They also work closely with their patients on improving their hearing and understanding speech through various treatments.
They work with people of all ages to improve their quality of life through services such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. These audiologists typically work in hospitals or clinics but they also may be found working independently as well.
What Are Some of the Responsibilities of an Audiologist?
The responsibilities of an audiologist can usually vary depending on the setting they work in. But the general responsibilities that this healthcare professional has included:
- Testing, diagnosing and treating patients with hearing problems
- Evaluating new devices for medical use
- Repairing hearing aids
These are only a few of some of the responsibilities that an audiologist will have.
What Specializations Do Audiologists Have?
Audiologists have to be well-versed in the field of hearing and speech. These doctors are experts in diagnosing, treating and managing various types of hearing disorders. Audiologists have to be well-versed in the field of hearing and speech. They also need to know about how the inner ear works, how sound is processed by the brain, how sounds travel through air and bone conduction as well as a variety of other topics related to their profession.
The specialization for audiologists includes a wide range of topics such as:
- Hearing: Audiometry, sound perception and auditory processing.
- Speech: Articulation skills
- Language development: Phonology
While they’re primarily known as hearing doctors it’s important to know that these audiologists have a wide range of expertise, far more than just hearing.
How Can an Audiologist Help Treat Patients?
Even though our hearing decreases as we age, audiologists are specially trained to provide treatment plans for patients with hearing loss, including both children and adults. An audiologist will take a patient's history and conduct a physical examination of their ears, nose, throat and neck. While a physical exam happens, oftentimes hearing tests will need to happen as well.
They will also test their ability to hear sounds at different frequencies using an audiometer. If a patient is diagnosed with hearing loss, an audiologist will prescribe various treatments to help improve the patient's hearing skills. The most common treatments include:
- Hearing aids
- Assistive listening devices
- Hearing therapy
- Health-related suggestions such as changing medications, ending the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
While audiologists cannot prescribe medication to their patients, there is still a wide range of ways that they’re going to try and help their patients out in the treatment process. Your hearing health is something that should never be skipped out on, it’s important to try and schedule an annual visit to your audiologist each year to check your hearing.