Hearing loss can occur at any age and for a host of reasons. When someone notices a change in their ability to hear properly they often don’t know where to begin their search for treatment. Most will begin with their primary physician, but oftentimes, this is a step in the process that can be avoided.
The following list details five reasons why it may be best to seek the help of an audiologist instead of seeing your regular family doctor.
1. Decreased Hearing
No matter your age, seeking treatment at the first sign of hearing loss will help you find relief before the causes become worse. Many hearing patients report that they first noticed an inability to understand normal conversation in crowded settings. Others cite a change in how they hear the voices of women and children.
Regardless of the signs, those who believe they are suffering from hearing loss are generally keen on the idea of getting the cause repaired so they can return to a life of normal hearing as soon as possible.
Audiologists are doctors that handle the non-medical diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss. Unlike your primary physician, an audiologist can thoroughly examine the wide ranges of hearing loss.
2. Excessive Earwax
The most common, and most-easily treated, the cause of unexpected hearing loss is a simple buildup of wax in the ear canal. The secretion of earwax is useful in the protection of your ears against bacteria, fungi, and yes, even insects.
It is also created by the body to protect the ear canal and assist in the cleaning and lubrication of the inner parts of the ears. However, this waxy buildup, known as cerumen, is a brown, gray, or yellowish substance that can block the outer ear canal or press against the eardrum, causing hearing loss.
Audiologists are trained in the safe removal of excessive earwax and if that’s the cause of your hearing loss, then a quick appointment will have you hearing like your old self again in no time.
3. Age-Related Hearing Loss
The most common cause of permanent hearing loss occurs as patients grow older. Tiny hair cells inside of the ear turn sound signals into electrical nerve signals.
The vibratory stimulation of these hairs is responsible for allowing mammals to hear sounds at a wide range of decibels and pitches. However, age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, is usually because these hair cells can become damaged and will not repair themselves or regrow.
In this case, an audiologist is usually the best option for seeking relief from the symptoms of this hearing loss as they can provide devices and techniques designed to increase their patient’s level of successful communication.
Many people who seek the help of an audiologist are not experiencing hearing loss, but instead, report a ringing or buzzing in their ears. Known as tinnitus, these bothersome symptoms are usually caused by other underlying conditions. Treatment for these conditions may help alleviate the perception of these noises by reducing or eliminating them entirely.
According to audiology experts, patients complain of “phantom” noises when no external sound is present. They may hear a whooshing, roaring, clicking, or hissing, but regardless of what they are hearing, the sounds can be quite annoying.
When the sounds cannot be eliminated, audiologists have access to masking devices that resemble hearing aids, but play a pleasant sound meant to drown out the aggravating noises caused by tinnitus.
5. Hearing Aids
The one thing for sufferers of hearing loss that can be done by an audiologist is the assessment and assignment of hearing aids for patients.
These small electronic devices are worn in or behind the ear and allow hearing loss patients to listen, communicate, and participate more fully in their daily lives. Equipped with a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, allow sound vibrations to be converted into neural signals that are then passed along to the brain.
These devices are useful in improving hearing and speech comprehension by magnifying those all-important sound vibrations as they enter the ear.
So if you feel as if any of the above reasons may be the cause of your hearing loss, consulting an audiologist instead of your regular doctor will save you both time and money as you search for relief from your symptoms.