4 Signs You Should See an Audiologist
There’s more to audiology than hearing exams. While we tend to think of seeing an audiologist for routine hearing tests for children and for those over 65, there are other times an audiologist can provide the necessary skilled care for hearing health. These are four signs you should see an audiologist.
1. Impacted earwax
A hard build-up of earwax near the eardrum can be a painful condition. Audiologists have the specialized tools to remove this impaction without damaging your ear canal or eardrum. The build-up sometimes occurs in people who produce more earwax than others or is due to improper ear cleaning. Never use a cotton swab inside your ear canal, it can push earwax back toward the eardrum, leading to an impaction.
2. Tinnitus and vertigo
Millions of Americans suffer from tinnitus or a ringing in the ears. It’s not just annoying; it may also be a sign of hearing loss. Regardless of the cause, your audiologist can treat tinnitus with masking devices or specialized hearing aids.
They also can diagnose and treat vertigo, dizziness, and other balance disorders, which originate in the inner ear.
3. Sudden hearing loss
If you were exposed to a loud noise at close range, changes in air pressure or an accident that caused you to quickly lose hearing, it’s time to see an audiologist. Any trauma to the ears should be assessed and treated as quickly as possible. Other possible causes include medication reactions, head trauma or illness.
4. Gradual hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss is common and affects one in three people over age 65. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re immune to it if you’re younger! The symptoms of this type of hearing loss come on gradually and often take time to recognize. Here are a few signs:
- You find yourself asking people to speak up or repeat themselves
- You find it difficult to hear on the telephone
- You have to constantly turn up the volume on the TV
- You find it hard to hear conversation in noisy places
- You have difficulty hearing children and women with high voices
- You have a history of exposure to loud noises
Audiologists offer a comprehensive set of hearing tests to determine the cause of any hearing loss as well as how best to treat it. They will take a thorough medical history and ask questions about your hearing problems. In addition to the hearing tests, an audiologist physically examines your ears and checks eardrum function and will consult with you about all test results.
Hearing loss is one of the top three health problems in the U.S. These four signs you should see an audiologist are guideposts to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, along with regular visits to your doctor, dentist and eye examiner. If you don’t have an audiologist, it’s time to do some research and find a professional to add to your list of medical providers.