Audiologists are commonly known as doctors of hearing. They’re the experts in testing, diagnosing and treating hearing loss whether it’s caused by a birth defect, the cumulative effect of noise damage over time or a recent injury.

What you might not know is that audiologists also treat ear conditions that aren’t directly related to hearing. If you have one of the following three ear health problems, an audiologist can be helpful in diagnosing, treating or recommending treatment for them.

Problem #1: You or your child have recurring middle ear infections

Ear infections (otitis media) are common among children, but adults can still develop them. Each time you have chronic ear pain, pressure and difficulty hearing accompanied by a fever and drainage, you should suspect a middle ear infection. While many other medical professionals may detect an ear infection, it might be a good idea to visit an audiologist if they become frequent. An audiologist can evaluate the middle ear with a variety of tests to determine if frequent infections are being caused by a middle ear disorder and recommend treatment for that disorder.

Problem #2:  You have trouble balancing or get dizzy a lot.

If you have symptoms like vertigo, frequent falls, dizziness, disorientation and blurred vision, you might have a balance disorder. Our sense of balance and orientation to the world around us comes from the inner ear, and can be upset by syndromes, diseases, toxins or injuries – either gradually or suddenly. About half of adults in the U.S. have vestibular (balance) problems sometime during their lives.

Audiologists are experts on inner ear systems and specialize in diagnosing balance disorders using specific testing methods. They also play an important role in providing rehabilitation for people with balance problems and helping them live normal lives again. 

Problem #3: You have severe earwax buildup.

Earwax is our friend, keeping our ears clean and free of infection. It also self-regulates itself so we usually have just the right amount. Sometimes, however, our bodies overproduce it.

If you have symptoms such as pressure or fullness in your ear, pain, difficulty hearing, tinnitus, dizziness, itchiness or drainage, you could have impacted earwax – a serious condition that’s most safely treated by an audiologist to avoid damage to your hearing.

Audiologists are chiefly responsible for diagnosing and treating hearing loss, but they can also detect and treat infections, balance disorders and earwax impaction. If you have one of these three issues, don’t hesitate to visit an audiologist as soon as possible.