Our ears are certainly amazing. They can hear sounds as soft as a cat's purr or as loud as a rocket blasting off. Many sounds happening at once bombard our ears, yet they can focus on a single sound.
But, what if you ears have difficulty deciphering these sounds? According to the Los Angeles Times, "Hearing loss is common, but the perception that hearing loss is only caused by aging is incorrect. More than 36 million American have hearing loss. Changing lifestyle habits, and treating a variety of health conditions can help to prevent hearing loss."
The audiologist uses audiometers and other computerized devices to test your hearing, determine the extent of hearing loss or damage and identify the cause. These tests deliver acoustic stimuli of specific frequencies to determine the patient's hearing for each frequency. Patients sit in soundproof booths and listen for sounds and repeat words they hear. Test results are plotted on a graph called an audiogram.
After the assessment, the audiologist can find the best options for treatment and work along with doctors, usually in the otolaryngology (ENT) field. Audiologists fit and dispense hearing aids to patients who are candidates for this treatment. These technicians can counsel patients and family members on the proper ways to listen and communicate with others and even with sign language or lip reading. No matter what hearing treatment is prescribed, patients visit audiologists throughout the year to access and keep up their treatment plan.