We are now coming into a time where hearing loss awareness and information are becoming more accessible to everyone and slowly more people are talking about their hearing loss openly. Although there is still a long way to go - it is a positive step in the right direction.
We are beginning to see a gradual increase in available education about the benefits of hearing aids, other forms of treatment and just how important an early diagnosis is for your hearing's future and the quality of life you lead.
But, what about the audiologist themselves? What about the professionals that make this a reality? Here we answer some of the common misconceptions about our industry and questions about this important profession.
An audiologist is a hearing healthcare professional that manages, focuses and finds a solution to problems in the auditory system of a patient. Audiologists are professionally trained to diagnose, treat and monitor all levels of hearing loss, tinnitus symptoms and balance issues (vestibular).
You might be wondering what is a typical day like for an audiologist and what is being an audiologist like? An audiologist's main role is to test hearing capability (audiogram), advise the most beneficial treatment for hearing loss, dispense hearing aids and fit hearing aids. They also organise and manage cochlear implants and provide rehabilitation counselling for their patients and families.
This could be an education on hearing loss, how to manage tinnitus symptoms, lip-reading or how to better communicate as a family and individual in various hearing situations and social gatherings.
Audiologists work in various practice settings, for instance, they provide their hearing healthcare services in their own private clinics, in hospitals and Hearing Aid UK also offers hearing care services and hearing tests in your own home for no extra fee.
They generally work alongside and collaborate with speech therapists and pathologists, hearing coaches, ENT clinics and otolaryngologists.
What is the difference between an audiologist and an otolaryngologist? This could also be referred to as the difference between an audiologist and ENT. The Ear, Nose and Throat specialists are medical doctors who have completed a degree at a medical school and have specialised in the otolaryngology field.
They offer a variety of services, procedures, treatments and can diagnose problems or disorders of the ear, nose, throat and even the lower areas of the skull. Audiologists work within an ENT clinic or own private practice providing hearing tests, dispensing hearing aids and offering counselling services.
So, are audiologists doctors? The simple answer here is no - audiologists are not medical doctors and they don't have to have a doctorate degree to practice. An audiologist is a licensed healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing, treating and administering to those with hearing loss, tinnitus and other types of hearing problems.
What is required to become an audiologist? They have to, at a minimum, have a masters degree in their field and then some go on to accomplish a doctorate degree, where they will then be a doctor of audiology.
Since 2010 the qualification required to become a hearing aid dispenser is a foundation degree in audiology so you may see the letters Fd Sc Aud after the name. In any case, the hearing aid dispenser needs to be registered with the HCPC and the registration details can be found on the HCPC website. In fact, our founder and owner, Paul Harrison was on the BSHAA Council between 2015-2020.
Regulation within audiology has been confusing to consumers for some time. What is important to know is that those who assess, fit, programme and dispense hearing aids should be registered by the Health Care and Professionals Council (HCPC).
All of our audiologists at Hearing Aid UK are qualified & registered with the HCPC. Hearing Aid Dispensers are regulated by the HCPC and set up to protect the public. Their job is to keep a register of health and care professionals who meet their standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health.
We are also a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA) who is the professional body that represents and promotes the interests of the independent hearing aid profession across the UK. The Irish equivalent of this is ISHAA and our founder, Paul Harrison, also sits on the BSHAA council.
Here are some topics of study audiologists cover during their education and training:
When suffering from tinnitus symptoms, there are plenty of options available to you, that an audiologist can discuss. A complete audiological assessment would be arranged to discover the severity and to strike off any diseases which may be present.
Other issues to factor in could be exposed to noise, blood pressure, allergies or stress. You might then be referred for treatment or the audiologist will advise you on the best course of action to relieve your symptoms. You might even need sound therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy or tinnitus retraining therapy.
Living with any form of hearing loss or balance issue can be difficult, at times debilitating and let us not forget to mention – alter your quality of life. Here is where an audiologist comes in. They are the best medical professionals to advise and steer you in the right direction with your hearing health.
Offering services that give you the best solutions for various circumstances and situations like; tinnitus, hearing protection, hearing loss, wax build-up, balance worries, hearing aids and tests.
There are so many innovative products out there for tinnitus, hearing protection and hearing loss, which you can discuss with an audiologist. They will relay all the options that would benefit you and your hearing healthcare the most.
We are all unique and respond to treatment, protection and products differently. Deciding on the best solutions may take some time, but with the help of an audiologist, you will receive unbiased advice, built from trust, confidence and communication.
An audiologist will advise and fit your hearing aids. These are the best solution for you and your hearing loss. Using your test results – the audiologist will tailor your hearing aid settings to give you the best possible hearing experience. Follow up appointments will be made so that your hearing health is maintained and monitored. Ensuring that your hearing aids are continually providing optimum support.
If you have wax build-up in your ear, an audiologist can professionally and carefully remove this problem. There are two methods currently used – micro-suction and irrigation. Symptoms that can surface if the wax build-up is not treated could be tinnitus, infections, pain, dizziness or restricted hearing, so it is always best to urgently seek medical help.
Using an audiogram, an audiologist can carry out a hearing test. It shows the test results in graph-form. Each ear will be introduced to different tones and frequencies. The audiologist will mark when these tones become audible to you – the ‘threshold’. Once the test is complete, there will be a summary of how your hearing copes with different sounds and how sensitive each ear is.
If the findings highlight a hearing loss, the audiologist will explain what type of loss you have developed and whether it can be treated. In most cases, wearing hearing aids can help you improve your quality of hearing and life. All these options will be discussed and explained to you.
If dizziness and balance become a problem, it is vital that you get medical help as soon as you can. An audiologist can offer various balance tests to determine cause, severity and diagnosis. Your eye movements may also be tested – due to them often highlighting the true functionality of your ears.
Sometimes a hearing test is required, as inner-ear problems generally stem from issues with the hearing system. Expert advice will follow your consultation, as to how your balance can be reinstated.
If you think you need an audiologist appointment because you feel you have problems with your hearing or any other type of hearing health care issues, our audiologists can help you. The quicker you get your hearing checked by an audiologist, the quicker you can be correctly diagnosed and the more successful your treatment will be.
Hearing Aid UK has a professional network of over 200 audiologists nationwide, so we can always locate the right audiologist near you.
Wherever you live, we’ll have someone near to you. We offer the choice of appointments either in a shop, clinic or in the comfort of your own home. Call us free on 0800 567 7621
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.