Hearing seems to be the sense we forget about. Most people don’t have their hearing tested on a regular basis. If you have not had your hearing tested since you were in grammar school, it is a good idea to have a baseline evaluation. For a baseline hearing evaluation for your medical record, it is best to see an audiologist.
Audiologists Are Hearing Doctors
An audiologist is licensed and trained to do diagnostic hearing and balance testing. Audiologists can do specialized hearing testing to determine the type of hearing loss a person has. If a person has an ear infection, the audiogram or picture of hearing will be different than a person with sensorineural hearing loss. A person with an acoustic tumor will usually show indications on the hearing test.
Medical training for an audiologist includes the anatomy and physiology of the outer, middle, and inner ear. Checking the ear canals for wax, cuts, and perforations in the tympanic membrane and other abnormalities prior to a hearing test is part of the process. Audiologists can remove Cerumen or wax from the ear canal.
There is extensive training in cochlear implants and programming of the devices. Cochlear implants are for people who have little help from the use of hearing aids, and have a profound sensorineural hearing loss. It involves surgery done by an ear, nose and throat physician. After healing, the implants are activated and programmed for each individual.
Audiologists May Specialize in Different Areas
Audiologists are trained in selling and fitting hearing aids. Some specialize in working with children. Others specialize in balance and dizziness. Some specialize in industrial audiology.
Where Do Audiologists Work?
Audiologists work in private practice, hospitals, the Veteran’s Administration, physician offices, and hearing aid manufacturers. Many audiologists work in an ear, nose, and throat physician’s office to test children with possible ear infections. Some work for hearing aid manufacturers to develop better hearing aids. And, of course, some audiologists teach and do research at universities.