October is one of our favorite months at Hearing Systems. Not just because of pumpkin patches or changing leaves, but because October is Audiologist Awareness Month!
If you’re like most people you might not be entirely sure how someone becomes an audiologist or all the different ways an audiologist can help people with hearing and balance conditions.
What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. They work with patients of all ages, and in a variety of settings including:
- Private practices
- Long-term and residential health care facilities
- Physicians’ offices
How to Become an Audiologist
In the past, audiologists either had a doctorate in audiology (Au.D) degree or a master’s degree. However, if you are currently attempting or interested in becoming an audiologist the Au.D is now the only accepted degree.
All students need to complete a bachelor’s degree prior to admission into an Au.D program. Some programs require an undergraduate degree in communication sciences and disorders, though others accept students with different degrees if they complete all pre-requisite courses.
Graduate studies can include coursework in subjects like:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Communication development
What Conditions do Audiologists Treat?
There are many reasons that might require you to see an audiologist, with a few of the most common being:
Audiologists can administer hearing tests, as well as prescribe, fit and program hearing aids. They also assess a patient’s candidacy for implantable hearing devices such as cochlear implants and program them as well. Additionally, they offer counseling on communication strategies for patients and their families.
Tinnitus is a ringing, hissing, roaring, whooshing or buzzing sound in the ear. Audiologists can offer acoustic therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy, steroid injections, hearing aids and counseling to help manage symptoms.
Balance disorders like Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and labyrinthitis are caused by problems in the inner ear. An audiologist can administer balance tests and work with other specialists like physical therapists to provide care and treatment for these conditions.
Audiologists are the most qualified individuals to help you manage your hearing loss or balance disorder. If you are dealing with any of the above conditions, call Hearing Systems for more information or to schedule an appointment today.