Hello, Better Hearing and Speech Month! At Coastal Hearing Care, I am passionate about educating the community on the importance of hearing health. One of the simple ways I can do this is by sharing who I am and the types of problems we help our patients solve! Do you know what an audiologist is?
What is an audiologist?
Audiologists are health-care professionals who provide patient-centered care in evaluating, diagnosing, treating, and managing hearing, balance, and auditory disorders for people of all ages. From newborn hearing screenings, to fitting hearing aids, to testing balance, our services are needed across the lifespan.
Where do audiologists work?
Audiologists work in a variety of settings. Depending on our clinical interest, you can find a lot of my colleagues in any of the places listed below:
- Private practices
- Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) clinics
- School settings: Educational audiology (K-12) & Universities
- Industrial hearing conservation programs
- Veterans’ Administration (VA) hospitals
What services do audiologists provide?
I am trained and equipped to perform a wide variety of services. Listed below are some of the many services an audiologist can perform:
- Comprehensive hearing assessments **
- Wax removal **
- Evaluating and providing treatment options for tinnitus (noises in the ears) **
- Assessing and diagnosing auditory conditions such as: auditory processing disorder, auditory neuropathy, hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound), and misophonia (hatred of specific sounds)
- Evaluating vertigo, dizziness, and balance disorders
- Selection and fitting of hearing aids **
- Verification and validation of hearing aids **
- Candidacy assessment and fitting of implantable devices such as: cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids, and middle ear implants
** These are the services that I provide at Coastal Hearing Care.
What training is required to be an audiologist?
Recently I’ve noticed patients expressing curiosity in my job title, “Audiologist” aka “Au.D”. An audiologist requires a doctoral level degree. This degree is not equivalent to a medical doctor (MD), however an audiologist’s education requires four additional years of education after receiving a bachelors. That’s 8 years of school! There is a lot of territory I had to cover in the doctoral program:
- Clinical practicum
Audiologists truly never stop learning! As you can imagine, technology continues to evolve, which means audiology does too. Staying up to date on best practice includes being informed on the latest research, testing procedures, and advancements in hearing aid technology.
In addition to graduating from an accredited doctoral program, my colleagues and I must pass a national exam and are required to hold state licensure.
Why see an audiologist at Coastal Hearing Care?
The comprehensive knowledge and training required to practice clinically speak volumes to the quality of care you will receive. With hundreds of hours in clinical rotations, audiologists are trained to help treat more than just hearing loss. For example, other conditions such as tinnitus are often co-existent with hearing loss. Audiologists are trained in managing this as well.
In addition, the goal at Coastal Hearing Care is to always to provide patient centered care that is backed by evidence based practice. The objective is not to sell, but rather to improve an individual’s quality of life. There is a SCIENCE and SKILL that goes into picking the right technology for you or a loved one. When selecting hearing aids, there are many factors to consider. For example:
- What is your lifestyle?
- What areas are you hoping to see the most improvement?
- Should you get one or two?
- Do you have trouble hearing in background noise?
- Do you have tinnitus?
- Do you have a history of ear surgeries?
- Have you had success or trouble with a different device before?
- Do you have vision or dexterity issues?
The list goes on…but the goal is always to help find technology that will help you thrive in your everyday life! For most, hearing is the gateway to communication, social interaction, and living your fullest life.
The latest MarkeTrak survey found that hearing aid owners almost unanimously agree that the hearing care professional they worked with played a critical role in their satisfaction with hearing aids. Hearing aid users reported satisfaction rates of 94% when working with an audiologist (Marketrak 10 results). They also found that patients strongly valued the quality of service during the fitting, professionalism of the audiologist, and the quality of service after the fitting. Additionally, patients reported that receiving realistic expectations and focusing on their individual needs was equally important in their success with hearing aids!
Our primary goal at Coastal Hearing Care is to get you as close to 100% satisfaction as possible. We value creating a relationship with our patients and walking through your journey to hearing better with you. In light of Better Hearing and Speech Month, reach out to us if you would like to know more about how to hear your best. Our goal is to continue educating and empowering all of our patients!
Carr, K. (2020). 20Q: Consumer insights on hearing aids, PSAPs, OTC devices, and more from MarkeTrak 10. AudiologyOnline, Article 26648. Retrieved from www.audiologyonline.com.