The time has come — you’re about to visit the audiologist for the first time. While you’re probably sure why you’re seeing an audiologist, you might not know exactly what an audiologist does, and that’s ok. Many individuals find they have a handful of questions after setting up the initial appointment. If you’re uncertain about what you’re getting into, consider the following frequently asked questions.

  1. What is an audiologist?
  2. How does an audiologist test for hearing loss?
  3. How is hearing loss diagnosed?
  4. How do I know if I have hearing loss?
  5. What causes hearing loss?
  6. Are there different types of hearing loss?
  7. How is hearing loss helped?

While your audiologist is the best individual to answer many of these questions, it’s always good to have a bit of knowledge prior to your appointment to give you more confidence and to reduce any potential anxiety you might experience.

What is an audiologist?

Understanding what an audiologist is can help you set your expectations prior to your appointment. An audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, tinnitus and other balance disorders. They are medically trained to treat individuals with many types of hearing loss. Typically, audiologists dedicate between six to eight years to training, often earning doctorate degrees in audiology.

What does an audiologist do?

An audiologist will take his or her training and put it to use with a patient, working to figure out the type and degree of hearing loss the patient has. The audiologist will ask a patient’s medical history and ask if he or she is on any medication, as certain drugs can actually cause hearing loss. From there, the audiologist will perform an array of tests that require the patient to respond to sound. The tests will provide the audiologist with an audiogram, which is a graph of data that indicates the type and degree of hearing loss and individual has. Once he or she has made a diagnosis, an audiologist will work with a patient to find and prescribe the best devices, such as hearing aids or other assistive listening devices, to help the individual with his or her hearing loss.

Will I need hearing aids?

Whether or not an individual needs hearing aids will depend entirely upon the type and degree of hearing loss with which he or she is diagnosed. Most individuals with hearing loss benefit from hearing aids. There are many types of hearing aids available on today’s market. Some are digital, technologically advanced and so small they can barely be seen, while others are more traditional devices that rely on analog features or use tubing and other wires. The best type of hearing aid for an individual will depend on many factors, including the type and degree of hearing loss, an individual’s lifestyle and how much a patient can spend on hearing aids.