Patients and Public
Untreated hearing loss can affect your ability to understand speech and can negatively impact your social and emotional well-being – hearing impairment can decrease your quality of life!
The good news is that there is help for persons with hearing loss – but the first step is to visit an audiologist, who can evaluate your hearing and determine the type and degree of your hearing loss.
What is an Audiologist?
Audiologists are the primary health-care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children.
- evaluate and diagnose hearing loss and vestibular (balance) disorders
- prescribe, fit, and dispense hearing aids and other amplification and hearing assistance technologies
- are members of cochlear implant teams
- perform ear- or hearing-related surgical monitoring
- design and implement hearing conservation programs
- design and implement newborn hearing screening programs
- provide hearing rehabilitation training such as auditory training and listening skills improvement
- assess and treat individuals, especially children, with central auditory processing disorders
- assess and treat individuals with tinnitus (noise in the ear, such as ringing)
- treat all ages and types of hearing loss: the elderly, adults, teens, children, and infants.
Almost all types of hearing loss are treatable by an audiologist. Most hearing loss that is caused by nerve damage can be treated by an audiologist with hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation.
Audiologists work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practice, ENT offices, universities, K-12 schools, government, military, and Veterans’ Administration (VA) hospitals. Most audiologists earn a doctor of audiology (AuD) degree. Some audiologists earn a doctor of philosophy (PhD) or doctor of science (ScD) degree in the hearing and balance sciences.
Audiologists must be licensed or registered for practice in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Why Newborn Hearing Screening Is Important
Approximately 6 of every 1,000 babies have a significant hearing problem at birth, and more than 4,000 babies are born with hearing loss each year. Babies are not able to tell you they have hearing loss, and the first year of life is critical to the development of normal speech and language.