How will you know when it’s time to see an audiologist?

audiologist scottsdale azchecking out what an audiologist does

If you are reading this informational note comfortably enough, your eyesight may be in good condition. And you certainly do not need good hearing to do your reading here either. Unless, of course, there is going to be a video link on how the audiologist scottsdale az practice operates. In which case, not only do you need to have a good pair of eyeglasses on your nose, you might also need a hearing aid.

That’s only if you’re currently finding it difficult to listen up.

But do not make the mistake of going directly to an audiologist for help. At least do your hearing health the service of first checking out what an audiologist does. And at the same time, you can draw a distinction between the audiologist’s work and that of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, and more specifically, that of the otolaryngologist.

This is not in any way designed to discredit the industry, because it happens elsewhere within the health services sector as well, but there is nothing stopping a patient from ordering and having a hearing aid made up. Currently, only an audiologist can do that. He or she is certainly equipped with the advanced tools to carry out the requisite hearing test and determine from that what scale and shape the hearing aid must take.

But it should be left to an otolaryngologist to make that determination. For one thing, his diagnostic tools are deliberately more advanced, and it covers a far wider area that goes beyond just a basic loss of hearing which, in any event, could just be temporary. Basic diagnosis by the audiologist may well be able to detect a large buildup of wax which is causing the (temporary) hearing loss.

But she will certainly not be recommending a hearing aid. That would be impractical and, quite frankly, steeply expensive. At the very least, she will advise visiting a general practitioner in order to cleanse the ears of the wax. But she will never be able to determine whether an acute infection or illness, even an injury, has been the root cause of the hearing loss.

That prognosis will be determined by the ear doctor. And for good medical order, it should be left to him to prescribe or recommend a visit to the audiologist to begin the process of fitting his patient with a first or new hearing aid. Tasks typically carried out by the audiologist include the following. While she will conduct hearing exams and administer the fitting, adjustment and maintenance of hearing aids, she can also treat her patients for balance disorders (a common symptom for those who are heavily hearing impaired) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears which can also be the result of excessive wax within the inner ear).

So should your hearing ability plummet dramatically, it is not yet time to panic. The loss of hearing could very well be temporary. And a visit to your GP remains a sensible first step.