An audiologist helps you maximize your quality of life by ensuring you optimize your auditory access to communication.
This is done through these professional activities…
—————————————————- Assess the entire auditory system
—————————————————- Catch other comorbid conditions
—————————————————- Diagnose auditory disorders
—————————————————- Manage auditory disorders
—————————————————- Provide audiological rehabilitation
—————————————————- Prevent hearing loss through hearing conservation
—————————————————- Provide neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring
—————————————————- Hearing aid fitting
—————————————————- Hearing aid verification
—————————————————- Consultation regarding communication management
—————————————————- Consultation regarding auditory access
(Additionally, an audiologist improves your quality of life through assessment, diagnosis and management of vestibular health, but that is not the focus of this article.)
The most important thing an audiologist can do for you is identify other medical conditions that may be causing your hearing difficulty. Conditions such as dementia, diabetes, acoustic neuroma, etc. For quite a few medical conditions the impact on hearing is your early warning sign. Alternatively, unresolved hearing loss can be a contributing cause to some conditions, such as dementia.
The shape of your audiogram graph in combination with other physiological responses, such as eardrum movement and acoustic reflex responses among others, helps the audiologist differentiate between a myriad of medical conditions. This kind of testing needs to be performed face-to-face with the proper equipment, by an audiologist.
Dismissing such a hearing situation as aging related, because you are not ready to feel old, can be a great disservice to your self. There are certain conditions in which the hearing loss can only be reversed if treated immediately, even a week later is too late.
Hearing should be checked annually, like eyes and teeth, for similar reasons.
You probably have heard that the best way to stave off cognitive decline is to engage in cognitive activities such as sudoku, crossword puzzles and the like. What you probably don’t know is that hearing is also a “use it or lose it” proposition. This is why it is so important to identify hearing loss as early as possible and to have a hearing aid that targets all the frequencies you need, so you conserve what is left instead of losing it.
What about OTC (over-the-counter) hearing devices?
That will be discussed in a separate article. For now, just be aware that not all audiologists offer all the services listed above. It is important to educate yourself and go to the right provider, even when you know you’re in the right discipline.
At Hearing Kids we specialize in assessing the auditory system to address those things that impact auditory processing in relation to how APD impacts communication and learning.