Audiology is the science of hearing. That makes audiologists professionals that dedicate their career to hearing care. They acquire their credentials through specialized post-secondary education, typically a master’s or doctoral degree in audiology. They are qualified specialists with the right to identify and treat issues related to hearing and balance. What an audiologist provides includes but is not limited to:
- performing the testing and evaluations that you need
- guiding you through the process of obtaining assistive devices, i.e., hearing aids
- assisting you in learning to adapt to your new life with hearing aids and their accessories.
Different types of hearing care professionals or specialists
There are different types of hearing care professionals (often referred to as HCPs) or specialists, and what you can expect from each of them, dealing with your hearing loss, also varies.
Hearing aid dispenser
A hearing aid dispenser has specialized training in performing hearing tests and recommending different hearing aids based on the results. These professionals can help select and fit hearing aids in some countries. It is worth noting they are specialists in hearing aids only, not of the ear and hearing conditions in general like audiologists or ENT doctors.
An audiologist is a specialist in hearing in general. They do not perform surgery and cannot prescribe medication as they do not typically have a medical degree. However, they will guide you as you go through hearing examinations, explore options for hearing aids, and help you to learn how to use them. Audiologists are equipped with extensive knowledge of the human auditory and vestibular systems. They are extremely well trained in acoustics (the science of sound), which allows them to perform the precise fitting and adjustment of hearing aids.
An audiologist, a hearing aid dispenser, a hearing care specialist, a hearing care professional, a hearing center or hearing clinic are all terms that can be used to refer to the clinic or store where you get a proper hearing examination, buy your hearing aids and have them fitted.
An ENT doctor, also known as an otolaryngologist, is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the ears, nose, and throat (the ENT comes from the first letter of those three body parts: Ear Nose and Throat). They can perform medical examinations and provide treatment, including surgery, if necessary.
When is it time to book a consultation?
There is no recommended time or frequency to see an audiologist. While hearing loss tends to be associated with age, anyone can face a challenge with hearing. Hearing loss can gradually develop over a long period. Therefore, it is essential to take action at an early stage.
If you are experiencing a decrease in your hearing or notice other hearing loss symptoms, we recommend you to take our online hearing test. It will give you a general assessment of your situation. If the result indicates that you might have a hearing loss, you should book a consultation with an audiologist or hearing care specialist.
How do I find an audiologist?
Choosing an audiologist can sometimes be a challenge. If you are unsure of how to find the best audiologist for you, you can start by booking a consultation with your general practitioner or with an ENT doctor. Doctors can evaluate your hearing and can provide initial advice. They can offer recommendations and direct you to a trusted audiologist in your area. You can also refer to our hearing center locator to find your nearest hearing care center.
Will I get help with my hearing aids?
Audiologists offer a wide range of services, from helping you select the best hearing aid to fitting and maintaining the device and its accessories.
Hearing aid consultation
Audiologists are certified to recommend hearing aids. They are very knowledgeable about the various types of hearing aids on the market, including the newest arrivals. They will help you find those that are most appropriate for your situation and your budget. They can also help you navigate your insurance plan or other financial support, such as reimbursement schemes, to see if it covers part or all of the hearing aid cost.
Hearing aid fitting
One of your audiologist’s responsibilities will be to fit and adjust your hearing aids to ensure that they improve your hearing. Fitting and adjusting hearing aids to best suit your needs may require a few visits to make sure that they are working well for you. It is perfectly normal and expected to need time to get comfortable with your hearing aids and master using them.
Common issues that you might notice initially include thinking that your voice is too loud, hearing feedback or background noises, or feeling slight discomfort with the physical fit of the device itself. Your audiologist will monitor your progress and guide you as you gradually get used to your device. If you notice a change in the performance of your hearing aids or if your hearing changes with time, see your audiologist for an evaluation.
Hearing aid care
Your audiologist will show you how to take your hearing aids off and put them on again. You will also learn how to maintain your hearing aids, check, recharge or change the batteries, keep them clean and dry, and use any tools and accessories that come with the device.