One look at the trend in do-it-yourself hearing tests, online hearing aid stores and alternative hearing aid solutions like personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) not only points to a lack of knowledge about proper hearing care, but also its primary health professionals: audiologists. In spite of the resources available for ‘do it yourself’ healthcare, nothing can replace the knowledge and experience of a professional, especially in the diagnostic stage. The following are some of the key reasons to see an audiologist when you start to experience hearing loss.
Reason 1: Better hearing tests
These days, anyone can take a simple hearing test online. While these tests can detect whether you have experienced hearing loss of some kind, they are incapable of providing a comprehensive evaluation. Audiologists have the equipment to perform several different types of hearing tests to assess both the physical (outer ear/middle ear) and electrical (inner ear) aspects of our hearing systems. These include visual inspection with an otoscope, speech tests, audiometric tests, the Hearing-in-Noise Test (HINT), bone-conduction tests that reveal whether hearing loss is conductive or sensorineural, a tympanogram to test the eardrum, an acoustic-reflex test and others based on your symptoms.
Not only can audiologists provide the means to run a comprehensive range of tests; they are fully trained and experienced in assessing your individual results and needs.
Reason 2: More accurate treatment
The many tests an audiologist performs helps them determine not only the extent of your hearing loss, but its origin. For instance, based on the type of hearing loss you have (whether conductive, sensorineural, mixed-cause, age-related, noise-induced, ototoxic or related to a physical defect or disease), the treatment will differ. Some types of hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids, while others require medication or surgery, and still others require a combination of both medical treatment and amplification. Simply taking a hearing test online will not ensure you receive full treatment based on the cause and type of your hearing loss.
Reason 3: Personal care
Online hearing tests will not provide the personalized treatment and care you will receive at the hands of an audiologist. In the age of convenience and ‘fast-food’ everything, your health is still worth investing time and funds in a professional you can talk with face-to-face. Unlike an online hearing test, a hearing evaluation with an audiologist will not be your final point of contact but the springboard of a patient-doctor relationship that will continue to ensure your hearing needs are met for years to come.