There are several different components within the scope of an audiologist. An audiologist receives a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree, which is typically a 4-year program, after receiving a bachelor’s degree. Audiologists treat hearing and balance disorders in the pediatric, adult, and geriatric populations. When you think of an audiologist, you may think of hearing aids. But the field extends far beyond hearing aids.
When seeing an audiologist for a hearing evaluation, a comprehensive assessment is performed to assess the auditory system, which includes the two different pathways in which we hear. Based on the test results, the audiologist may make referrals to your primary care physician or an Ear, Nose, and Throat (E.N.T.) physician for medical evaluation. Amplification can also be recommended. Different types of amplification can include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and bone-anchored hearing aids. The type of device would be determined based on your hearing loss and further audiologic and/or medical evaluation may be required. In addition to typical hearing tests, testing can be completed through the use of electrophysiology, which includes auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, and more.
In addition to amplification, audiologists are also trained to treat tinnitus, which can be described as ringing in the ears. If you are experiencing tinnitus, an audiologist can perform a tinnitus evaluation and recommend management strategies. Additionally, evaluations for auditory processing disorders are also within the scope and these evaluations provide information about how our brain processes sound. Treatment recommendations for APD can made as well.
To treat balance disorders, audiologists can perform comprehensive vestibular evaluations. These are completed using videonystagmography (VNG) as well as electrophysiology. This testing can be useful in determining possible vestibular abnormalities which is beneficial to treatments and diagnosis from physicians. Audiologists can work in conjunction with other professions, such as physical therapists, to create vestibular treatment plans to reduce symptoms of dizziness as well.
The auditory and vestibular system is complex and the assessments of these systems are within the scope of an audiologist. For evaluation of your hearing and/or balance system, see an Au.D. at Gardner Audiology. To schedule an appointment, call 800-277-1182 or visit gardneraudiology.com.