Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn’t fully enjoy a conversation with your friends and family or even hear your favorite TV show? Does your child sometimes struggle to listen to what the teacher is saying in the classroom? Most people believe that hearing loss only affects the elderly population, but that’s not true. Around 37.5 million adult Americans report some degree of hearing loss. At the same time, approximately 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. Additionally, an estimated 1 out of 5 American teenagers experience some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss can affect anyone, regardless of their age. So, what can you do about it?
It is crucial to understand who audiologists are and why it is essential to seek their professional help when treating hearing loss. According to the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), audiologists are primary healthcare providers who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders. This means that they can help with a wide range of issues related to hearing and balance, making them a crucial resource for those who may be experiencing any of the following problems:
- Sensorineural hearing loss (or conductive/mixed HL)
- Hidden hearing loss
- Noise-induced hearing loss
- Auditory processing disorders
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Audiologists are experts in identifying the type and extent of hearing loss, and they use a variety of management tools to help you, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices, cochlear implants, and aural rehabilitation. They perform a comprehensive hearing evaluation to establish a personalized care plan. This means they consider the patient’s emotional and physical needs and develop a solution tailored to their daily lifestyle. Patient-centered care involves more than just providing excellent diagnostic services. It considers the patient’s overall well-being and specific goals to improve their quality of life.
Before 2007, all audiologists held a master’s degree in audiology. Those who graduated after 2007 must obtain a Doctorate in Audiology. Most audiology programs are four years of full-time graduate study beyond the four-year bachelor’s degree. The program’s final year of graduate coursework is a full-time clinical residency that helps solidify the previous years of study. Beyond obtaining a doctorate, many audiologists will choose to obtain board certifications and specializations within their scope of practice.
At Savannah Speech & Hearing, we offer hearing loss management for individuals of all ages. From infancy to adulthood, anyone can benefit from our hearing evaluations and interventions. Our team has the expertise and motivation to enhance the quality of life for anyone affected by hearing loss.
Now, we’ve talked about the importance of why you should see an Audiologist. But we haven’t discussed when you should seek their services. Some good indicators that you or someone you know might need to be evaluated:
- Difficulty hearing phone conversations
- Trouble hearing in a crowded room
- Infants not responding to sounds
- Exposure to loud noise
- Children with delays in developing speech
- Ringing (tinnitus) in the ears
As research continues, we discover the link between hearing loss and overall health. If left untreated, hearing loss can lead to social isolation, depression, anxiety, falls, hospitalizations, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline (dementia). It is, therefore, essential to consult with your audiologist to discuss whether your current hearing loss management is appropriate for your needs.
A comprehensive hearing evaluation is a thorough assessment that considers all aspects of your life, including your medical history and daily routine. During the evaluation, we will assess the function of your outer and middle ear to rule out any physical factors that may be affecting your hearing. We will also evaluate how well you can hear and understand speech, both in quiet and noisy environments. Finally, we will assess your hearing threshold, the softest level at which you can detect sound. By analyzing all this information, the audiologist can identify the type and degree of your hearing loss and recommend the best intervention tools to improve your hearing.
Call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to take the first step and schedule a free hearing screening today!