In Louisiana and all around the United States, hearing loss is one of the most misunderstood medical ailments. A minimum of 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss, but four out of five never seek treatment. Hearing loss has been related to several major mental and physical health concerns, in addition to limiting your capacity to interact with your loved ones and other people around you.
If you or someone you love is having trouble hearing, an audiologist is the medical professional that can help.
What is an Audiologist?
The American Academy of Audiology defines an audiologist as "the primary healthcare professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in individuals of all ages from infants and teens to adults and the elderly."
Education and Training
Audiologists are medical practitioners who have received certification and licensure in audiology. Their professional training includes:
A master's degree or doctoral degree (Au.D.) in audiology from a reputable university
A year of fellowship or externship
Pass state licensing exams
Fulfillment of the continuing education requirements that allows them to renew their licenses
Services Offered By an Audiologist
These healthcare professionals will assess and treat hearing and balance issues by going over the patient's medical history and evaluating their hearing and balance. In turn, they will provide them with hearing aids, protective hearing devices, and assistive listening devices. They also assist in the clinical research for tinnitus, hearing loss, and balance system dysfunction.
Hearing Loss Treatments
If you have encountered hearing loss, this specialist can diagnose and treat it effectively.
Fits Hearing Aids and Assistive Technology
If the patient's hearing loss cannot be corrected through conventional treatment or only gets back partial hearing capabilities, the audiologist may recommend and fit assistive devices. These devices enhance a patient's hearing abilities.
Hearing Aid Maintenance and Reprogramming
It's crucial to stay on top of your hearing aid's maintenance if you want to get the most out of your hearing aids. An audiologist can give your hearing aids a deep cleaning, repair hearing aids that aren't working, and reprogram hearing aids for hearing changes.
Offers Counseling Services
Loss of hearing can be pretty devastating for anyone. An audiologist offers counseling services to people who may have a partial or permanent hearing impairment to help them cope with life. They also help those who use assistive devices learn to use them correctly and maintain them.
Provides Ear Care Education
An audiologist educates patients and the public on ways to take care of their ears to prevent hearing loss or ear infections. They advise on acceptable noise levels, basic cleaning of the ears, and other self-care practices.
Manages Balance-related Conditions
Loss of balance may be caused by infections of the inner ear, head injuries, or neurological disorders. An audiologist treats the source of the conditions, helps patients become steady, and deals with the spinning sensations that accompany the condition.
If you've been having hearing trouble for some time or experiencing new symptoms recently, you should make sure to see an audiologist to help you hear your best. An audiologist should be the only hearing care professional you let treat your hearing.
For more information on hearing loss and the appropriate treatments available, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced audiologist, Dr. Erin Rushing, is ready to assist you by answering any questions you might have.