At Associated Audiologists, we receive a lot of questions from people who are starting to notice a change in their hearing, or from caregivers who are beginning to experience difficulty communicating with their relatives and friends. Many of these observations are concerned with a simple question: "When should I (or when should my loved one) see an audiologist?"
Not only do audiologists evaluate hearing loss, fit and dispense hearing aids, and refer patients to other specialists as appropriate, they can also test an individual’s balance, evaluate dizziness or vertigo, evaluate and treat tinnitus, and administer rehabilitation training for hearing.
You should see an audiologist if you (or your loved ones) are experiencing any of the following problems:
Partial or complete hearing loss.
Malfunctioning hearing aids — note that hearing aid dispensers do not undergo the same extensive training and education as audiologists. In many states, hearing aid dispensers are required to have only a high school education.
Older hearing aids that no longer address your needs. As your hearing changes, so should your devices. Most hearing aids can be expected to last four to six years, so if it's been a while since you purchased yours, it may be time for an upgrade.
Excessive earwax — believe it or not, most over-the-counter ear wax removal products do more harm than good, and can cause ear wax to soften and adhere to the eardrum.
Tinnitus — a constant “ringing” in the ears.
Poor balance, dizziness, or vertigo.
As you age, your likelihood of experiencing problems related to hearing loss can increase. Most experts recommend visiting an audiologist for an annual checkup, especially after age 40.
If you’re ready to see an audiologist to solve your hearing-related problems, your next step is to choose the right audiologist for your needs. Download a free copy of our e-book to learn how to select the best audiologist for your needs.
What are the common types of hearing loss?
Age-related hearing loss is typically a result of changes in the inner ear as we age, but not all hearing loss is associated with an inner ear problem. The external and the middle ear conduct sound. When there is a problem in the external or middle ear, the result is known as a conductive hearing impairment. When the problem is in the portion of the inner ear called the cochlea, this type of hearing loss is commonly a sensory or sensorineural hearing loss. Difficulty in both the middle and inner ear results in a mixed hearing impairment (conductive and sensorineural impairment).
5 reasons to consider new hearing aid technology
Like any technological device, hearing aids are constantly changing and improving. Just as you upgrade your phone or your computer periodically as new technology becomes available, you should expect to get a new hearing aid every few years. Even when well maintained, hearing aids should be replaced every five to seven years as your devices age and as your hearing needs evolve. If it’s been awhile since you’ve upgraded yours, you may be surprised by some of the new features and functionality offered by today’s hearing aids.
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