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All about audiology

Audiology: What is it?

An audiologist is a doctoral-level health care provider that diagnoses hearing loss and balance disorders, and provides treatment. Hearing loss is diagnosed on a scale of the degree of loss, ranging from mild to profound hearing loss. Depending on the degree and severity of the hearing loss, either hearing aids or cochlear implants could be recommended. Your audiologist will work with you to determine the best treatment options for your specific hearing loss.

What is the difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants?

Hearing aids are the next step following a hearing loss diagnosis, regardless of the degree of loss. Hearing aids work by picking up sound with microphones, amplifying the sound, and delivering the amplified sound to the ears. Hearing aids are programmed using prescriptive targets based on an individual’s specific hearing loss, and your audiologist will use equipment to ensure your hearing aids are meeting those targets.

Cochlear implants are recommended for those patients with severe-to-profound hearing loss, who do not benefit from hearing aids. Sometimes there is too much damage to the ears that simply amplifying sound is not enough. A trial with hearing aids is always required before pursuing a cochlear implant, as it is the least invasive option. Your audiologist will administer tests while wearing hearing aids to determine whether or not they are providing benefit, or if it is time to consider a cochlear implant.

When you should see an audiologist

Hearing loss can have significant negative impacts on mental health, and leads to social isolation. While hearing loss does not cause dementia, studies show that untreated hearing loss can lead to further progression of dementia symptoms and cognitive decline. Hearing is a huge part of our everyday lives. If you are struggling with hearing loss related symptoms, find an audiologist in your area that can help you regain access to sound for a better quality of life.

If you are experiencing hearing issues, contact a Mercyhealth audiologist or visit Audiology Mercyhealth.