The Top Conditions an Audiologist Treats

an audiologist is examining her patient's ear canals

People who are qualified and trained in audiology are called audiologists and they are responsible for managing your hearing, providing you with the appropriate rehabilitation to help improve your personal and social interactions with the world of sound around you.

They are highly-skilled specialists that can help diagnose, treat and prevent conditions involving hearing and balance. If you have a problem with hearing, dizziness or even communication, an audiologist is there for you to help identify the cause and any other hearing related problems that may require attention.

Here are some of the main disorders that an audiologist can help with:

Hearing loss 

This is the most common reason that people will visit an audiologist, who can administer diagnostic tests, analyze the results, prescribe hearing aids and fit and program hearing aids for their patients. There are three categories of hearing loss, which are:

  • Conductive hearing loss: Is when sound is not reaching the inner ear, which is usually due to an obstruction or trauma injury.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Means that there is a problem occurring in either the inner ear or the auditory nerve, which delivers sound to the brain.
  • Mixed hearing loss: Is hearing loss caused by a combination of the two above.
  • An audiologist is trained to provide hearing tests that will establish the degree and type of hearing loss that is being experienced and will then use the information to suggest the most appropriate hearing aids for that person.

Tinnitus

Most people associate tinnitus with a ringing in the ears. It is actually a condition that causes people to hear phantom sounds from their brain – rather than the sounds within their environment, such as buzzing or whistling sounds that are low intensity and present throughout the day. Tinnitus can have a great impact on the quality of a person's life and it’s important to seek advice from an audiologist who can recommend medication, the use of white noise, therapy and hearing aids to support the condition.

Balance and inner ear disorders

The inner ear contributes largely to our sense of balance. Conditions such as Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraines, often have similar symptoms to blurred vision, nausea and vertigo.

Although these disorders do not necessarily cause symptoms related to the ear, they do need to be treated by an audiologist because the root cause of balance disorders is usually down to problems with the inner ear.

Don’t allow your symptoms to persist when there is plenty of help out there, as they can get worse without attention.

Earwax problems

Earwax is a natural substance that our ears produce to keep them clean and free from infection. Unfortunately, it can become a problem for some people, where the wax can start to build up and become impacted. Most commonly, people will report some degree of hearing loss due to the build-up of wax.

An audiologist can help resolve the wax issue by removing it using techniques such as suction and irrigation to relieve the blockage.

Ear infections

Symptoms of ear infections include pain in the ear and neck, swelling, discharge from the ear and even balance issues and dizziness.

An audiologist can evaluate the middle ear with a variety of tests to determine if frequent infections are being caused by a middle ear disorder and recommend a suitable course of treatment for that disorder, such as a course of antibiotics to help clear up the infection.

Noise sensitivity

Being sensitive to noise can be incredibly difficult and there are two conditions that can cause issues. Hyperacusis can develop suddenly or over a period of time and is characterized by a heightened sensitivity to everyday sounds and can affect one or both ears.

Hyperacusis can be cured if it's caused by another condition, such as a migraine, head injury or Lyme disease. If there's no clear cause, you may be offered treatment to help make you less sensitive to everyday sounds.

Misophonia is a sensitivity to a particular range of small, repetitive sounds and individuals with it often report they are triggered by oral sounds, such as the noise someone makes when they eat or noises such as tapping on a keyboard. The disorder is sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome.

If you, or someone you know, experience any of the above conditions, then seeking the advice of an audiologist is the first step towards finding the treatment that is required. 

You can learn more about what Country Roads Audiology can offer, by calling 540-209-8993.