Hearing impairment can range from mild to severe and affects around 10.6% of the population in the US. Although hearing impairments are often associated with older people or those with genetic conditions, it can develop in otherwise healthy adults of any age.
Possible causes for unexpected hearing loss can include earwax, sudden loud noises, or infection. If you operate in a loud environment for your work or hobby it is possible that it can have a detrimental effect on your hearing over the long term; this is why it’s important to always wear effective ear protection.
Hearing impairment can be a very disconcerting experience that brings with it stress and uncertainty. If you or someone you know experiences hearing impairment in their life, the chances are you will encounter an audiologist. An audiologist will consult you in every aspect of your experience and develop the best course of treatment based on your needs. Below are some of an audiologist’s duties and responsibilities.
Examinations and assessments
If you experience hearing impairment in the course of your life, it might be caused by a range of factors. These can include a blockage, nerve damage or damage to the inner ear. Unexpected hearing loss can affect people of any age – contrary to popular belief. As well as disrupting the regular flow of life it can also be a profoundly worrying and disconcerting experience. But not all hearing loss is cause for concern and treatments are available from a professional audiologist. It is the job of the audiologist to examine your ear and determine the best way to treat your condition.
When you visit an audiologist, they will ask you questions to determine the nature of your hearing loss and to identify relevant tests to assess your experience. These tests might include a pure tone audiometry test in which you wear headphones and press a button each time you hear a beep or a tympanometry test where a soft sensor is placed in the ear to determine changes in air pressure. Many other tests exist to identify the issue and administer the best treatment option. Examples of audiology treatments include a variety of hearing aids, implants and devices.
Hearing loss can affect people of any age; it is not only restricted to the very old or those with congenital conditions. Tinnitus, for instance, is a common experience for many individuals which can develop gradually over time. The onset of hearing loss does not only affect us physically, but it can also be a mental and emotional experience.
For this reason, audiologists are also trained counselors who can help individuals to work through any fears or traumas they may be experiencing. During a session, an audiologist will work to improve the wellbeing of individuals using specialized counseling techniques.
Fitting of hearing devices
An audiologist is a combination of physician and specialist hearing consultant. Whatever hearing loss you experience, your audiologist will coordinate every aspect of your journey. This not only includes identifying the condition and administering appropriate treatment, but it also means fitting devices if necessary.
Devices can include behind the ear hearing aids, bone-anchored hearing aids or auditory brain-stem implants. Your audiologist will work with you to find the best device for your needs and fit it for you in the most comfortable way to increase the chances of you hearing better with minimal inconvenience.
Teach alternative communication
There are several reasons why you might need to learn an alternative form of communication, such as lip-reading or sign language. In children who experience hearing impairment, it is crucial to develop these skills to engage with education and for adults and older people who develop hearing loss, alternative languages can help them to communicate more effectively. It is the duty of an audiologist to teach alternative languages in the form of a dedicated curriculum or to ensure that clients are enrolled in appropriate service, best suited to their needs.
If you experience or develop hearing impairment, you will eventually encounter an audiologist who can help you identify the issue and administer effective treatment. But their duties and responsibilities do not stop there. Your audiologist will get to know you personally and will understand your individual requirements.
Over time, the same audiologist will monitor and optimize your treatment to ensure you are receiving the best possible care. It’s necessary to review treatments at regular intervals to check that it’s working for you and that your requirements have not changed. Furthermore, as technology develops, better treatment options might be available, so give Audiology & Hearing Center of Tampa a call at Westchase: 813-962-1888 and Tampa Palms: 813-374-3036 to learn about their options.