The most basic way to describe the role of an audiologist is to certify hearing impairment of an individual. Based on the diagnosis, they recommend the use of hearing aids.
What Does an Audiologist Do?
Audiologists are medically trained professionals with expertise on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing disorders. They are trained to treat hearing disorders for people of all ages. Aside from hearing disorders, they can also help people struggling with balance.
There is a wide scope of hearing disorders that can be addressed by audiologists. Below are some of the disorders that they can help you address:
Hearing Disability – This is a broad term that can refer to hearing damage that is experienced in one or two ears. Audiologists rely on the use of audiometer to determine the extent of hearing damage. Aside from that, they can also pinpoint the cause of hearing problem in order to find the right treatment.
Auditory Processing Disorder – This type of hearing disorder impacts the brain that is processing the sound. Audiologists measure the sounds and frequencies that an individual can register. This is compared to the defined normal range for an average individual.
Tinnitus – This is one of the most common types of hearing disorders that audiologists help diagnose and treat. It is characterized by a ringing noise in one or two ears. It can be uncomfortable and annoying, depending on the extent of the ringing.
Amplification – Audiologists can help amplify the sounds that individuals with hearing damage can process. In most cases, people with hearing disorders can hear a sound but it is not loud enough. The use of hearing aids or other hearing assisting devices can help with the amplification process.
What’s a Clinical Audiologist?
Clinical audiologists are professionals who administer the hearing tests needed for diagnosis. For these professionals, they are not limited to working on a clinic (despite the job title). They are expected to be in a variety of work environments such as schools and offices. They can also work with a variety of professionals like speech-language pathologists and medical specialists, especially if other conditions are evaluated (aside from hearing loss).
Clinical audiologists perform hearing and balance tests for patients. They also conduct periodic hearing tests for those that have been previously diagnosed with hearing disorders. It is their responsibility to evaluate results and determine if further tests are required. A clinical audiologist will also be involved with some office management duties.
Use of Hearing Devices or Therapies
Audiologists are responsible for the recommendations of hearing devices or therapies for those who are certified with hearing impairments. They are responsible for making the diagnosis (based on the symptoms and tests done), so only they can prescribe these hearing aids. The exact method of hearing aid to be used will also be based on the tests performed on the patient.
There are also other advanced levels of audiology practice that expert professionals can perform. This can be linked to speech language pathology. These are speech-language related disabilities that develop from hearing disorders.