By Heather Sandy, MA, CCC-A, Audiology Consultants
Over 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. Even more surprising, over half of those 36 million Americans are under the age of 65; it is no longer just a health concern for seniors. Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud noises, ear infections, harm to the inner ear or eardrum, illness or certain medications, and deterioration due to the normal aging process.
An audiologist is a health care professional who can evaluate, diagnose, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. Audiologists have earned a doctoral degree (AuD) or master’s degree (MA or MS) in Audiology and must be licensed or registered in their state of practice. You might find an audiologist in a variety of settings: private practices, hospitals, universities, doctor’s offices, and schools to name a few.
Many people do not recognize the first signs of hearing loss or ear disease. Symptoms to watch for may include difficulty understanding conversations in noisy environments, pain or pressure in the ears, ringing or buzzing noise in the ears, and concerns with balance or dizziness.
Your audiologist will be able to perform a thorough examination of your ears, hearing, or balance system and be able to recommend the appropriate follow up or referral. If hearing loss is found and hearing aids are an option, the audiologist is an expert in the selection, fitting, and management of appropriate hearing aids or other amplification. If a potential medical issue is seen, the audiologist will refer you to your primary physician or an ear, nose and throat physician for treatment options.
If you have hearing concerns for yourself or a loved one, take the time to see an audiologist for an evaluation. Know the signs of hearing loss and how you can protect your hearing. Make an appointment with an audiologist this October during National Audiology Awareness Month.
For more information about options for hearing loss, call Audiology Consultants, P.C., at 563-355-7712 or visit www.audiologyconsultants.com.
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