4 Frequently Asked Questions About Audiologists

If you have scheduled an appointment for a hearing assessment, you might be wondering exactly what an audiologist is, what type of tests they perform and what to expect for your visit to our audiology clinic. Here are answers to 4 frequently asked questions about audiologists.

  1. What is an audiologist? From Wikipedia: An audiologist is a health-care professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and/or treat hearing, tinnitus, or balance problems. They dispense, manage, and rehabilitate hearing aids and assess candidacy for and map cochlear implants.
  2. What type of schooling or degree does an audiologist have?  Current audiologists must have a minimum of a Master’s degree in Audiology; however, new students must pursue a Doctoral degree in Audiology (Au.D).
  3. What type of tests do audiologists perform? An audiologist assessment will always begin with a history interview. You should be prepared to answer questions about any conditions you have had since birth, exposure to loud noises, a list of medications prescribed and what medical conditions they are for, past surgeries, and any family history. The audiologist will then do a visual inspection of the outer ear and ear drum. Finally, the audiologist will perform the audiological evaluation which will include the a series of assessments that might include:
    • Tympanometry to assess the status of the middle ear.
    • Pure tone thresholds by air conduction and often by bone conduction to determine the degree and type of hearing loss.
    • Tests of speech threshold and speech recognition to assess comprehension of complex signals.
    • Special tests of auditory function, such as otoacoustic emissions, brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER), or balance testing. (source)
  4. What is the difference between an audiologist and a general doctor? As we mentioned above, an audiologist has had specialized education in the areas of audiology and the tests they perform are more comprehensive than the tests and equipment a general practitioner medical doctor will perform during routine check ups, annual physicals, eetc.

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