If you are experiencing a hearing impairment, tinnitus or a balance disorder, you may benefit from the services of an audiologist.
What it is
A hearing impairment is one of the most common health conditions. It is estimated that 15 percent of American adults have some trouble hearing and 25 million Americans experience an episode of tinnitus each year. Audiologists are specialists who can helps prevent, diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders. They can help you with:
- hearing evaluations (audiology exams)
- hearing aid fittings, follow up and repair
- individual and family counseling on preventing and coping with hearing loss
- coordination of physician referrals, as needed.
Hearing loss can be so gradual that you may not notice it at first. If left unnoticed and untreated, it can cause frustration, fatigue and social isolation. We use the latest technology in a comfortable, caring environment to tailor services to your lifestyle and communication needs.
A balance disorder can cause you to fall or feel dizziness or vertigo, a severe form of dizziness that can lead to headache, nausea and vomiting. These conditions are often caused by ear infections or diseases of the inner ear, such as vestibular neuritis and Meniere's disease.
Good for detecting
During a hearing examination, the audiologist will first conduct a physical examination of your ears. The provider will use an otoscope to look into your ears for any physical condition that may be contributing to your hearing loss, such as wax buildup, ear infections or rupture.
You may also undergo the following examinations:
- A tone test to measure how well you distinguish high and low tones, as well as soft tones.
- A speech test in which you will be asked to repeat words and phrases.
- A pressure test to check the flexibility of your eardrum.
As with hearing impairment, your audiologist will begin with a physical examination of your ears. Additional testing may be needed, including:
- medical imaging
- postural tests to see if certain movements or postures cause the imbalance
- eye examinations
- bood pressure and heart rate.
Good for treating
Treating an underlying ear infection or other ear disease will most often correct the hearing impairment or balance problem. In some cases, hearing damage may be permanent, and a hearing aid may be prescribed.
Other treatments may include:
- diet or lifestyle change may be recommended for conditions, such as Meniere’s disease to prevent fluid
- positioning therapy to clear particles out of the inner ear