Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012

Audiologist, Audiology, and Hearing Tests

Picture of Audiologist who helps people hear better.

Most states now recognize the detrimental effects of undiagnosed hearing loss on individual members of our society and society as a whole. This awareness comes from repeated studies showing people with untreated hearing loss are more likely to have speech, language, social, emotional, and physical repercussions. A comprehensive evaluation by a Doctor of Audiology can more thoroughly examine the nuanced ranges of hearing loss. But what exactly is an Audiologist, what tests do they perform, and why are they so important to hearing health?

Audiologist: An audiologist is a hearing health professional with eight years or more of education in hearing and rehabilitation of hearing. A Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) or what most people call an Audiologist is educated and trained to prevent, identify, and assess hearing disorders, as well as to provide treatment—including hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. An audiologist is typically trained in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology/Communication Sciences and Disorders before they even begin the four year program necessary to become an audiologist. To put it simply, an audiologist is a hearing doctor.

Specialized Hearing Health Tests and Services

• Behavioral Hearing Test- Patient is asked to respond to auditory stimulation. (Not appropriate for all ages.)
• Visual Reinforcement Audiometry- Comfortable earphones placed on the ears emitting a sound picked up by delicate equipment that measures how the brain responds.
• Conditioned Play Audiometry- A series of tests designed to determine if a child has a problem with discerning certain sounds.
• Central Auditory Processing Evaluation- A test that evaluates a condition in children with normal hearing who for some reason have an inability to process certain sounds.
• Auditory Brainstem Response Testing- A neurological test that uses stimuli to invoke auditory brainstem response functions.
• Otoacoustic Emissions- A soft sponge earphone is placed in the ear canal to measure the presence or absence of typical “echo” responses to sound.
• Tympanometry- An air pressure test used to uncover mobility of the middle ear, ear bones, and eardrum.
• Balance Testing- A series of tests that helps determine if issues with balance relate to inner ear problems, cardiac issues, or central nervous system abnormalities.

Fitting Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are precise and advanced instruments worn in or behind the ears. They not only raise the volume on sounds, but thanks to technologies like directional microphones they can focus on specific sounds, like your spouse speaking. It is broadly recognized that early intervention is key to halt the detrimental affects of hearing loss, but hearing loss specialists know people won’t wear what isn’t comfortable. An audiologist uses his or her knowledge of hearing aids and hearing along with proven formulas and sophisticated equipment to optimally fit hearing aids for ideal comfort and function. Hearing aids have been successfully fitted on children as young as three months old!

Benefits Packages

Often an audiologist will provide additional services when someone purchases a hearing aid from them. Some of the finest comprehensive benefits package in the industry come free with the purchase of a device from a professional audiologist. These valuable services may include:
• Quarterly cleaning and checks

• Otoscopic exams
• Yearly hearing aid performance test

• Loss and Damage Insurance

• Comprehensive repair warranties

• Free batteries for the life of the hearing aid
• Discounts on accessories
• Diagnostic Audiology
• Hearing consultants
• Hearing aid adjustments

Finding the right hearing health professional depends on a patients goals and needs. The best hearing health professionals are those that typically understand the emotional as well as physical issues involved with hearing loss and are very familiar with the fears and problems that can arise from this complex condition.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

©2011. American Hearing Aid Associates 225 Wilmington - West Chester Pike, Suite 300 Chadds Ford, PA 19317888.575.2511
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