If you visit your doctor with any conditions that affect your sense of hearing, chances are they may refer you to an audiologist. Put simply, an audiologist is a health care professional who specializes in identifying, assessing and managing disorders associated with hearing, balance or other neural systems.
Generally speaking, it’s an audiologist’s duty to provide you with care, assistance, treatment and further support when you are experiencing any form of hearing loss. But different types of audiologists do have different sets of responsibilities. Let’s take a moment to look further into this issue to help you to see the key duties of the most common types of audiologists!
Areas of specialism
Of course, audiologists, like other healthcare professionals, do branch off into various different areas of specialism. The type of services that different audiologists will provide will depend on their individual areas of specialism. The type of audiologist you come into contact with will depend on your individual needs, requirements and conditions. Here are the three most common types of audiologist.
Audiologists and doctors of audiology
Generalized audiologists are licensed health care professionals who will usually specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders in both adults and children. Some people refer to these professionals as hearing doctors. They will have a thorough knowledge and in-depth understanding of your auditory systems and vestibular systems.
To enter this line of work, they will have had to complete a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree. Some audiologists, however, will have alternative degrees and qualifications, such as a Ph. D, a Sc.D or various others. They will also have received extensive training in sound reproduction, ensuring that they can fit and adjust your hearing aids properly. When you visit an audiologist, they may carry out the following services for you:
- Carrying out hearing examinations
- Fitting hearing aids
- Adjusting hearing aids
- Helping you to maintain hearing aids
- Offering treatment for balance disorders
- Offering treatment for tinnitus
- Conducting hearing rehabilitation programs
- Conducting speech rehabilitation programs
Hearing instrument specialists
Hearing instrument specialists – who will, in some states, be referred to as licensed hearing aid dispensers – are health care professionals who specialize in providing you with the right hearing aid technology for your individual needs. These professionals will have the most up to date knowledge and expertise in regards to the different types of hearing aids that are available on the market.
This includes hearing aids, assistive listening devices and much more. They will be able to recommend the right aids for you based on the cause and level of your hearing loss. They will also be able to fit and program your hearing aids when they arrive. All hearing instrument specialists have to be board certified or licensed by the state.
You may have heard otolaryngologists referred to as ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors. These physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating issues associated with the ears, nose, mouth and throat. They focus on the more physical causes and consequences of hearing loss rather than the sense of hearing itself. An otolaryngologist will be trained in both medicine and surgery.
Generally, you will see an otolaryngologist to resolve injuries, illnesses, infections or tumors that have resulted in hearing loss or damage to the ears. You may also come into contact with an otolaryngologist if you require surgical treatment to help with hearing loss, such as a cochlear implant. You will find that when you undergo treatment with an otolaryngologist, they will usually then refer you onto or back to a general audiologist for further help with your hearing.
As you can see, there are a number of different audiology roles that provide a number of different types of treatments and services. With so much choice and possibility, you may not be entirely sure which you need to seek out. But not to worry. We can help!
If you require any further information in regards to an audiologist’s duties, or you’re simply wondering which type of audiologist you may need to get in touch with, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Live Better Hearing. A friendly member of our time will be able to provide you with the information you need or point you in the right direction! Simply call us today at 443-775-2950!