What Conditions Does an Audiologist Treat?

a middle aged man having his ears examined

When you’re experiencing hearing or ear-related issues, you’ll want to visit your audiologist as soon as you can. By getting an accurate diagnosis, conditions can be treated swiftly and symptoms can be reduced. However, many people are unsure exactly what issues an audiologist can help with. To get a clearer idea of how your audiologist can help you, look at some of the conditions they can treat:

Hearing loss

When people experience hearing loss, their first port of call is usually an audiologist. In fact, hearing loss accounts for a significant proportion of an audiologist’s workload. As well as visually inspecting your ears, audiologists can conduct routine hearing tests to confirm whether you have hearing loss. If so, your audiologist will also determine what type of hearing loss you have and how severe it is.

Following this, your audiologist will work with you to create a management plan. If your hearing loss is temporary, subsequent treatment may restore your hearing function. Alternatively, permanent hearing loss can be successfully managed with hearing aids.

If you require hearing aids, your audiologist will show you the various models available, explain how they work and what features they offer. In addition, your audiologist will recommend specific devices that suit your unique hearing needs. If you choose to wear hearing aids, your audiologist will have them made according to your specifications and take molds of your ear, if you choose to have custom hearing devices.

As well as diagnosing and treating hearing loss, audiologists can also provide vital advice when it comes to protecting your hearing function. Custom ear protection can help to reduce the risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss, for example, and is easy to access from your audiologist.

Tinnitus

Characterized by a ringing, whooshing, humming, buzzing, hissing, clicking or roaring sound in the ears, tinnitus is a condition that makes you perceive sounds that don’t have an external source. Although they sound very real to you, they’re actually manifested by your body.

There is no definitive cause of tinnitus, although it often coincides with hearing loss. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of tinnitus, an audiologist can examine your ears to assess whether a blockage or injury has caused damage to the inner ear. In addition to this, a hearing test can be carried out to confirm whether hearing loss is also present.

If tinnitus has a secondary cause, it may be possible to eradicate your symptoms. When tinnitus occurs due to temporary hearing loss caused by an ear infection, for example, treating the infection can fully restore your hearing function and resolve the symptoms of tinnitus. Alternatively, your audiologist can help you find long-term options to manage the symptoms, such as tinnitus masking features on hearing aids or tinnitus retraining therapy.

Earwax removal

The outer ear produces earwax naturally to protect against water, bacteria and fungi. Earwax also helps to keep your ears clean and prevents them from becoming too dry. Although the body naturally disposes of earwax, there are times when it overproduces wax.

When this happens, a buildup of wax can occur. If the ear canal is partially or fully blocked by earwax, you may notice a decline in your hearing function. With careful earwax removal, an audiologist can ensure that the ear canal is no longer blocked and that your hearing function is no longer impaired. This can be done using a special tool or a suctioning device that can remove the wax without damaging your ear.

Also, your audiologist can determine whether you have any conditions which could predispose you to increased wax production. Bone blockage or swimmer’s ear are two conditions that can increase wax buildup. By treating any underlying causes, your audiologist can reduce the risk of subsequent issues.

Balance problems

When you experience balance problems, you may feel unsteady on your feet or like your surroundings are spinning around you. As you might imagine, balance problems can be extremely frustrating and have a major impact on your day-to-day life. Determining the cause is the first step to resolving your balance issues.

Most balance problems originate in the inner ear. Various conditions can affect the way your inner ear functions, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, acoustic neuroma and vestibular neuritis. By assessing you, diagnosing you and prescribing appropriate treatment, your audiologist can establish the cause of your balance problems and help to resolve them.

When to consult an audiologist

If you’re experiencing hearing, ear or balance issues, it’s important to consult an audiologist. However, you don’t have to wait until you experience symptoms. By having regular check-ups, you can protect your hearing function and ensure that any signs of hearing loss are identified without delay.

Give Texas Professional Hearing Center a call today at (281) 691-6633 to learn how we can help with your hearing loss.