October is National Audiology Awareness Month, so what better time to raise awareness about audiologists and what they do!
What is an Audiologist and What Do They Do?
An audiologist is a health care professional who specializes in hearing and balance disorders.
Audiologists work in a variety of different settings including:
- Private practices
- Long-term and residential health care facilities
- Physicians’ offices
Audiologists work with patients of any age and help to diagnose, manage and treat hearing and balance problems in their patients.
In order to become an audiologist, a person must have a doctor of audiology (Au.D.) degree. Many universities across the United States offer doctoral programs in audiology including the University of Florida, as well as several other colleges in the state.
These programs usually take about four years to complete. Most incoming students have a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. Some programs do accept students with undergraduate backgrounds if they complete the necessary prerequisites.
In addition to earning their Au.D. degree, audiologists must pass licensure exams in the state (or states) that they practice. Other certifications including the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and board certification from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) go above the minimum requirements for state licensure.
When You Should See an Audiologist?
As mentioned, audiologists treat a number of conditions related to hearing and balance. One of the biggest reasons people see an audiologist is hearing loss. Consider making an appointment if you experience any of the following:
- Family or friends have remarked on your hearing.
- People seem to mumble, or you need them to repeat themselves often.
- You have trouble following conversations in groups, especially with background noise.
- Telephone conversations are difficult to follow.
- Others comment on the volume when you listen to the TV or music.
- You notice a ringing, hissing, buzzing or other type noise in your ear that won’t go away, or comes and goes over weeks or months.
- You have unexplained dizziness or balance issues and have ruled out other serious conditions with a medical doctor.
If you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact The Hear Care Center today.