3 Conditions an Audiologist Treats
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Audiologists are healthcare professionals who have advanced training in the diagnosis, treatment and management of hearing problems and balance disorders. Many people see an audiologist when they notice changes in their ability to hear, but audiologists are not just experts in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss; they’re skilled and qualified to treat a handful of other issue. Here are three conditions an audiologist treats.
1. Hearing loss
Hearing loss is the most common reason to see an audiologist. If you have difficulty hearing friends or clients when you’re having a face to face conversation or you’re talking on the phone, it’s advisable to see an audiologist. Hearing loss can be caused by treatable issues, such as an ear infection or excessive earwax inside the ear canal, but often, it isn’t possible to treat the underlying cause. If you have symptoms of hearing loss and there is no obvious cause, your audiologist may recommend using hearing aids. Hearing aids are devices, which are worn either inside or behind the ear, to amplify sounds. If your audiologist suspects that you have hearing loss, they will carry out some tests and examinations to check for potential causes and determine the best treatment options for you.
Tinnitus is often known as ringing in the ears. While it’s very common to experience a ringing noise in your ears, tinnitus can also cause a humming, buzzing, hissing or whooshing noise. When you have tinnitus, you hear sounds that aren’t caused by an external source. Tinnitus often occurs when you’ve been exposed to loud noises such as during a rock concert or party. In this case, tinnitus tends to be temporary. You may find that you go to bed with ringing in your ears, but there’s no noise when you wake up in the morning. This is very common and it’s absolutely normal, though not entirely healthy for your ears. What’s not normal is experiencing recurrent bouts of tinnitus, especially if you haven’t been subjected to persistent loud noises. If you have symptoms on a regular basis or your symptoms have got worse, see your audiologist.
3. Balance disorders
Balance disorders affect your ability to maintain your balance and they can make you feel unsteady, dizzy and nauseated. Balance disorders are often linked to abnormalities that affect the vestibular system, and this is why audiologists are experts in treating conditions like vertigo and labyrinthitis. To be able to balance, your eyes, ears and muscles must work together. If there’s an issue with your ears, for example, an infection or inflammation in the inner ear, this can affect your balance. If you feel dizzy when you walk, you’re staggering around or you feel disorientated, these symptoms could be linked to problems that affect your ears that can be treated by an audiologist.
Audiologists are best known for helping patients who suffer from hearing loss, but there are many different factors that can contribute to hearing issues. Audiologists have experience in assessing and treating hearing loss and fitting hearing aids, but they can also assist patients with conditions like tinnitus and balance disorders.