The Top Conditions an Audiologist Treats
Far from popular belief, audiologists treat patients for more than just hearing loss. Anything to do with your ear, which includes hearing, balance, pain and tinnitus, can be treated by these specialists. There is a range of treatments for every condition, but it's important that you have an evaluation by an audiologist to identify the underlying problem.
You should also realize that some conditions that don't start out in the ear can slowly spread to the ear, which can cause more issues to arise. But don't worry, our experts will meet every challenge and guide you through each step of your journey.
As you would expect, hearing loss is among the top conditions an audiologist will treat. Much like the other conditions, they will determine the root cause before evaluating what the level of severity is. They'll run you through a guide of different hearing aid styles that will both feel comfortable in your ears and also fit your lifestyle.
Tinnitus is common among older people and those who have experienced blunt force trauma injuries to their ears or head. Many people describe a constant ringing noise in their ears, which can lead to further hearing problems. Tinnitus, however, is the result of something else, such as an infection or undiagnosed hearing loss, but also, loud music and constant loud noise can create ringing and buzzing sensations.
When working to treat tinnitus, hearing aids are the most commonly recommended solution. These devices are equipped with a masking feature to help your brain override the sounds you can't get rid of. Additionally, tinnitus retraining therapy can be used in tandem to help you learn to block out these distracting noises.
Dizziness and balance
Your inner ear balance can be disrupted by many things. It can be related to your lifestyle if you have a very sporting schedule. If you like to skydive, bungee jump, or perhaps you're a racing driver, the g-forces your body goes through can harm your balance and cause vertigo. This is something audiologists will look for when evaluating the causes of your dizziness.
They will run a few tests to diagnose the problem and give you advice and treatment on how to limit the symptoms from getting worse. However, a lack of inner ear balance can also be caused by an injury. The signs of your condition may not appear readily, but over time they will become more noticeable. So, if you suspect you have an inner ear balance and coordination issue, speak with an audiologist immediately.
Earwax is good; it keeps your ear clean and free from infection. Earwax acts just like mucus in our nose and throat, by catching bacteria and viruses, so they don't travel further into the body. However, forced or 'impacted' earwax can cause an infection. Keep in mind earwax catches bacteria; if you were to then use something like a cotton bud to push the earwax into the inner ear, you would be doing the work for the harmful bacteria. This can cause sudden blockages as the ear swells to protect the body.
It can also cause sudden inflammation, which pushes against nerves and the delicate parts of your ear. It can lead to permanent damage if done with vigorous force. However, an audiologist will diagnose the issue, give you treatment to lessen the damage and advice on how to avoid infections from occurring again.
Oversensitivity to noise
Sudden hearing loss is usually due to injury or incident. Maybe you were exposed to an incredibly loud noise right next to your ear. It could have been an air horn set off right next to your ear at a sporting event. It may have been caused by not wearing ear protection at a gun range. These issues can lead to noise sensitivity.
Hyperacusis and misophonia are more common conditions. The former is usually concerning sensitivity to a normal environment encompassing everyday sounds such as cars, dogs barking, people speaking, cutlery clanging, etc. The latter concerns small but repetitive noise such as the hum of a computer fan, the whining noise of a refrigerator, or perhaps air circulation through your house. This is something the audiologist will check for during a detailed hearing examination. There is a range of tests that will be done to see what type of sensitivity condition you have.
Audiologists perform lots of different treatments for many things other than hearing loss. If you'd like to know more, speak with Audiology Associates by calling 707-827-1630.