What Services Can You Find at a Hearing Clinic?
Audiologists work in a hearing clinic where they provide a range of services. But if you have never been to one of these clinics or to see an audiologist, you may not know what they do. Below, we look at these healthcare professionals and how they can help you.
What is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a trained healthcare professional who focuses on evaluating, diagnosing and treating hearing problems. They take care of patients with hearing loss, hyperacusis, balance issues and tinnitus. Contrary to what many people believe, a hearing specialist does not just treat older patients. Their patients range in age from birth to the elderly.
An audiologist typically operates a hearing clinic as its highest ranking professional. These specialists are Doctors of Audiology. They attend an accredited university to receive a Bachelor's degree, then attend postgraduate education for another two to three years for a Master's degree and 350 hours of supervised clinical work.
Besides an audiologist, a typical audiology clinic also may employ a hearing screener who tests patients' hearing. An audiology assistant also works under an audiologist, providing some direct patient care and supporting the lead hearing specialist. A hearing aid specialist fits hearing aids for patients and ensures these devices work properly.
Services You Can Find at an Audiology Clinic
At an audiology clinic, services help patients with hearing loss, tinnitus, balance problems and auditory processing. The audiologist examines the ear canal and ear drum using an otoscope. They also look for signs of ear infections or build-up of ear wax. If there is built-up ear wax, they remove this for the patient to hear better.
If you work in an industrial environment, at an airport, in the music industry or with power tools, you likely need hearing protection. When someone needs to protect their hearing from loud environments, the audiologist provides custom fitted hearing protection. They also fit hearing aids and program hearing devices.
For patients who need help hearing, these clinics offer assistive listening devices. The professionals in a hearing practice also provide audiologic rehab, such as communication management, auditory skill development, language development and speech reading.
Is a hearing practice only for people with hearing loss?
Hearing professionals, including audiologists, work with people with all levels of hearing. You possibly need to visit one of these clinics for a hearing test, just to confirm you have good hearing. Or maybe you struggle to hear people when they talk to you and need to find out if you have hearing loss. For people with hearing loss, the audiology staff at a hearing practice provide hearing device fittings, including the latest cochlear implants.
Balance disorders like vertigo occur because of a problem in the inner ear. If you struggle with balance, your audiologist can diagnose your problem and provide the right treatment to help you steady yourself again. If you experience frequent or ongoing dizziness, vestibular testing is a possible course of action provided at your hearing practice.
If you suffer hearing loss after head trauma or an injury to your ear, your audiologist treats these problems, too. They also diagnose and help you manage ringing in your ear caused by tinnitus. Some possible treatments for ringing ears include tinnitus counseling, vitamin therapy, biofeedback, relaxation therapy, hypnosis, electrical stimulation and specialized hearing aids that mask the ringing noise.
Visit Your Hearing Clinic Today
Your hearing specialists are eager to help you enjoy your best possible hearing. Whatever problems you experience, such as hearing loss or tinnitus, your audiologist can provide a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. They often also work in the community, providing education to groups about the effects of hearing loss and how seeing a specialist can improve ear health. Find an audiologist in your area and have your hearing checked today.