Frequently Asked Questions
What is an audiologist?
An audiologist is a professional who diagnoses and treats hearing and balance problems. An audiologist has earned an Au.D. (Doctorate in Audiology), a Master’s or a Doctoral degree from an accredited university audiology graduate program.
For more information: What is an Audiologist
How do I find a qualified specialist in my community?
Is an audiologist covered under my insurance as a specialist?
Insurance companies often pay for services a patient receives from an audiologist. Payment could be full, partial or no coverage depending on the patient’s specific insurance policy. The best way to determine whether or not your policy covers audiology services is to contact your insurance carrier. It is a good idea to get pre-authorization before committing to audiology services.
For information on insurance coverage, visit:
How do I know if I should have my hearing checked?
If you suspect that you have a hearing loss, consult with an audiologist. An audiologist is trained to identify whether hearing loss exists and if it requires medical or non-medical treatment. The audiologist will identify, diagnose, treat and manage your hearing loss. An audiologist will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist when necessary.
For more information, visit the Quick Hearing Check.
What should I expect during my first visit?
Your visit will begin with an interview about your history. The audiologist will perform a thorough assessment of the hearing anatomy. Next, he or she will examine the outer ear with an otoscope or video otoscope. Any damage can be observed that is caused by cotton applicator use (“Q-tips”), trauma or chronic infection. The audiologist can also observe the condition of the eardrum and determine whether the ear canal may have earwax buildup, causing a hearing loss. After considering a patient’s history and performing a visual inspection of the outer ear, the audiologist will perform an audiological evaluation that includes a series of tests.
How do I know if I need to have my child’s hearing checked?
If you suspect a hearing loss, consult with an audiologist. An audiologist is trained to identify whether a hearing loss requires medical or non-medical treatment and will refer you to the appropriate medical specialist when necessary. The audiologist will identify, diagnose, treat and manage the hearing loss.
For more information, visit the Quick Hearing Check.
The following signs could indicate that your child has hearing loss:
- Turns up the TV volume excessively high
- Responds inappropriately to questions
- Does not reply when you call him/her
- Watches others to imitate what they are doing
- Has articulation problems or speech/language delays
- Has academic problems
- Complains of earaches, ear pain or head noises
- Has difficulty understanding what people are saying
- Seems to speak differently than other children his or her age
While these signs don’t necessarily mean that your child has a hearing problem, they could be indicators of one.
What signs or symptoms of hearing loss should I look for in my parents?
Because hearing loss in adults can develop gradually over the years, most people are not aware of the extent of their loss until family or friends bring it to their attention. Knowing the risk factors and recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss in yourself or someone you know is the first step. If you notice any of the following risk factors, it’s time to schedule an evaluation by an audiologist.
- Trouble understanding people
- Dizziness or balance problem
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Muffled or plugged ears
- Ear trauma or head trauma
- Certain ototoxic drugs
- Family history of hearing loss
For more information, visit:
How do you address hearing loss when the person denies any problem?
According to Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D. and Executive Director of the Better Hearing Institute, “Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated, but they are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don’t want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can ‘get by’ without a hearing aid. Unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, before getting treatment.”
ABOUT HEARING LOSS
What fails in the body that causes hearing loss?
There are multiple causes of hearing loss. Their level of impact on hearing varies. The main causes of hearing loss are:
- Excessive noise (i.e. construction, rock music, gun shot, etc.)
- Aging (presbycusis)
- Infections (otitis media)
- Injury to the head or ear
- Birth defects or genetics
- Ototoxic reaction to drugs or cancer treatment (i.e. antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation)
For more information: Causes of Hearing Loss
Can the ear eventually “heal” when damaged like other body parts do?
A ruptured or perforated eardrum usually heals by itself within two months. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and prevent infection. Antibiotics (oral or eardrops) may be used to prevent infection or to treat an existing infection. Analgesics (pain killers), including over-the-counter medications, may be used to relieve pain. Occasionally, the health care provider may place a patch over the eardrum while it heals. Surgical repair of the eardrum may be needed, if the eardrum does not heal on its own (tympanoplasty).
Alan Lipkin, MD, Otolaryngologist