What Does an Audiologist Do?
Like most specialized health care providers, audiologists are important, but majorities of people aren’t really sure of what they do. In fact, it’s often not until you have hearing issues and need to speak with an audiologist that their role becomes clear. To help you get to understand audiologists better, here is a list of the roles and responsibilities that they have.
Preventing hearing loss
Hearing loss can severely alter the lives of individuals and one of the key responsibilities of an audiologist is to prevent hearing loss from happening in the first place. This includes creating and coordinating programs for school and occupations that educated the public on how to take the necessary steps to prevent hearing loss.
Audiologists can also make trips to work sites and other venues to measure the acoustic environment and make suggestions on how to lessen noise pollution.
Identifying hearing loss
If you think that you may suffer from hearing loss, an audiologist plays a major role in diagnosis. They are trained to understand warning signs of hearing loss and know how to conduct tests to confirm their suspicions.
Audiologists are involved in screening programs for newborns and school-aged children to ensure that hearing problems are diagnosed as soon as possible. Audiologists also screen for speech and language disorders which may be a result of hearing deficiencies.
Once audiologists believe that you suffer from some form of hearing loss, they will do their best to understand the cause of the loss. Different diagnostic tests such as nerve assessment and auditory functions will be conducted.
If need be, audiologists will also refer patients to professions and agencies that help to support those that suffer from hearing loss.
Treating hearing loss
After the initial diagnosis, audiologists will help in creating a plan to best serve in combating hearing loss. Hearing aids may be used and will need to be fitted and monitored. Follow-up appointments with audiologists will allow them to track your hearing progress and alter their rehabilitation plans if needed.
Hearing loss education
While audiologists go through extensive training to become certified, including a doctorate degree, as health care providers they need to continually educate themselves on the changing research of hearing loss. Understanding new theories on how hearing loss comes about and knowing what the latest technology is to treat hearing loss is an audiologist’s role.
A good audiologist will also want to share his knowledge with students enrolled in an audiology program. These degree programs include a practicum component and you may find that your audiologist has a student employed in hands-on-learning at your next appointment.
A final role of an audiologist is one that many people may not be aware of and that is advocating for the rights of people that suffer from hearing loss. This includes community engagement so that safety issues are addressed as well as general education around what it’s like to live with hearing loss. Like any health issue, the more that hearing loss is talked about the less of a stigma it will have.