When you or a loved one experiences a hearing problem, it can stress any relationship. As a potential consumer of hearing health care services we would like you to make informed choices. The following FAQs are the ones most asked by people with hearing loss. The Links section also contains several consumer-based hearing health-care web sites.
Audiologists are the only professionals who are university trained and licensed to identify, evaluate, diagnose, and treat audiological disorders of hearing. Audiologists may be found practicing in Private Audiology Offices, Hospitals, Medical Practices, Universities, Private and Public Agencies and Public Schools.
All individuals with suspected hearing loss require audiological hearing tests to determine the type, degree, and cause of the hearing impairment. Managed care companies are realizing that efficient cost-effective hearing health care requires that primary care physicians refer patients directly to audiologists to determine whether rehabilitation or medical/surgical treatment is indicated. This occurs because fewer than 20% of all individuals with hearing loss require medical or surgical treatment. Rehabilitation treatment consists primarily of the design, selection, and fitting of hearing aids and/or assistive listening and altering devices, which is usually completed in the audiology office.
The services provided by audiologists include:
Audiologists hold a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited university with special training in the prevention, identification, assessment, and the rehabilitation of persons with hearing impairments. In Pennsylvania, audiologists are licensed to practice audiology by the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. Audiologists are required to complete a full-time internship and pass a demanding national comprehensive examination. By virtue of their graduate education, professional certification, and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, fit hearing aids and assistive listening and alerting devices, provide rehabilitative services, and refer patients for medical treatment.
Signs of Hearing Loss
| Speech & other sounds are muffled or unclear|| Asking others to speak more slowly and clearly|
| Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds|| Asking someone to speak louder and repeat what they said|
| Difficulty understanding conversation when you are in a noisy place|| Turning up the volume on the television or radio|
| Difficulty understanding speech over the phone|| Ringing in the ears|
| Trouble distinguishing speech consonants (e.g. the difference between s & f, between p & t, between sh & th)|| Hypersensitivity to certain sounds|
Contact an audiologist or see the links below.
American Academy of Audiology
American Tinnitus Association
Audiology Awareness Information about Hearing and Hearing Aids
National Institute of Health about Hearing, Ear Infections and Deafness
Deafness Research Foundation
Links to websites for parents:Hearing Loss Association of America (Self Help for Hard of Hearing)