Discovering you may be suffering with hearing loss is a difficult realization to come to, but for approximately 30-40% of Americans over the age of 65, such a realization is sadly, commonplace. When exploring your various treatment and or diagnosis options, one of your first questions will likely be “Who can help me with this hearing loss?” The answer is, there are several well-trained professionals who are perfectly capable of helping you learn more about your hearing loss, how to treat it, and how to make it just a bit easier living with hearing loss.
Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors), audiologists, and hearing instrument specialists are all very well qualified to both test your hearing and help you explore various treatment options. If you are having unusual problems associated with your hearing loss such as pain in the ears, drainage, difficulty maintaining balance, a single-sided hearing loss, or a rapid hearing loss, your safest bet is to visit an otolaryngologist.
Both audiologists and hearing instrument specialists are required to refer you to an ear doctor for the above problems, so you will save yourself some time and money by seeing and ear doctor first. The ear doctor will ensure that there is no larger, more threatening, underlying problem which is contributing to your hearing loss. If and when these underlying issues have been addressed and there is still some hearing loss, the ear doctor will likely refer you to an audiologists or hearing instrument specialist.
If you have a typical sensorineural hearing loss, (nerve loss), chances are, the specialist will recommend hearing aids, which are usually the best treatment option. There are various styles of hearing aids, from behind-the-ear devices, to completely invisible in-the-canal devices which are so small they can’t be seen at all.
Beyond the actual style of the hearing aid, there are numerous features which you may or may not need depending on your lifestyle. Your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist will go over these options with you, and equipped with the results of your hearing test, will help you find the best solution for you. No matter which device you settle on, the most important aspect of wearing hearing aids is the care you receive from your provider. The worst hearing care provider in the world can’t make the best hearing aids sound good for you, and the best providers can make even entry level hearing aids sound decent for you. So on your journey to better hearing, it’s wise to focus less on the actual device you’re wearing, and more on the level of care and commitment your hearing professional provides you.
Whichever route you choose to take, the entire team at Birmingham Bloomfield Audiology and ZipHearing wish you the best of luck. To better hearing!
About the Author: Jeff Hall is a hearing instrument specialist in California’s Central Valley, and founder of ZipHearing.com, which is a website designed to help those struggling with hearing loss find the right hearing instrument, at the right price, from a provider near them.