When to See an Audiologist
We make regular trips to the doctor and dentist. However, under normal circumstance, most people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are unlikely to need to make an appointment to have their hearing checked, so it’s not a big concern. But as we age, it’s important to know when to see an audiologist. Here are some common reasons.
If your hearing changes
A slow change in your hearing is not always apparent. If you’re in your 50s or older and haven’t seen an audiologist since you were young, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for a hearing exam. Most hearing loss in those over 50 is age-related and after age 65, one in three Americans suffer hearing loss. If you notice that you’re not hearing conversation as clearly as you once did or your family complains that you have the volume on the TV too loud, these are indications of changes in your hearing. If you have a sudden hearing loss, it’s important to see an audiologist or your doctor as soon as possible.
When you have earwax build-up
An earwax impaction can be very painful. Sometimes excess earwax builds up in people who wear hearing aids or earplugs. Some people manufacture more earwax than others and find that it doesn’t exit the ear canal properly. In these cases, an impaction can block the ear canal and put painful pressure on the eardrum. An audiologist has the proper tools to remove the impaction and relieve the pressure. It’s important to remember that your ears are self-cleaning and you should never insert anything into your ear canal to remove wax. This includes cotton swabs and any pointed object.
If you have tinnitus or vertigo
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, may be a sign of hearing loss. For some people, it’s a nearly-debilitating constant noise that makes it impossible to concentrate. Whatever the cause, your audiologist can provide treatments, including specialized hearing aids or masking devices.
Vertigo, dizziness and other balance disorders generally indicate problems with the inner ear. An audiologist can diagnose the issue and assist with treatment.
When you wear hearing aids
Once you’ve had your hearing checked and the tests indicate that hearing aids will help, your visits to the audiologist won’t end there. Your audiologist may set up semi-annual or annual visits to clean and check your devices. You will also need annual hearing exams. The results allow your audiologist to fine-tune your hearing aids for any changes in your hearing. The audiologist also can make minor repairs and provide replacement batteries during these appointments.
Knowing when to see an audiologist is important for your hearing health. Because audiologists are trained professionals with advanced degrees, they’re able to evaluate any hearing problems and provide a skilled hearing aid fitting, if necessary. A regular visit to an audiologist should be included in your annual schedule of health care provider appointments.