What is an audiologist?

According to the American Academy of Audiology, audiologists are primary health care professionals who “evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children.” These doctors of audiology (Au.D.) can work in a wide range of environments, including ear-nose-throat offices, schools, universities, hospitals and private practices. Li-censure requirements for audiologists vary by state, but once the requirements are met, audiologists may treat patients ranging in age from infants to adults. Some of an audiologist’s most important responsibilities include:

  • Prescribing and fitting hearing aids
  • Recommending personal amplification systems and devices
  • Assisting with cochlear implants
  • Testing a patient’s hearing by measuring “the loudness at which a person begins to hear sounds, the ability to distinguish between sounds, and the impact of hearing loss on an individual’s daily life” (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Designing hearing protection programs for schools and the workplace; conducting newborn hearing assessments
  • Performing hearing-related surgical monitoring
  • Providing “hearing rehabilitation training, such as auditory training, speech reading, and listening skills improvement” (American Academy of Audiology)
  • Researching treatments for hearing- and balance-related disorders

The AAA suggests that audiologists are able to treat nearly all forms of hearing loss. In cases of hearing loss caused by nerve damage, an audiologist may use hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and hearing rehabilitation to maximize the patient’s hearing capabilities. For more information about the role of audiologists in treating hearing loss, talk to an audiologist on your True Dental Discounts hearing plan. More than 2,000 provider locations are available throughout the nation, and participants are eligible to receive up to 58 percent on digital hearing aids nationwide. Start saving your hearing – and your wallet –today.

My child has hearing loss – now what?

Once a child has been diagnosed with any form of hearing loss, the parent’s next step is critical. In most cases, parents must work with a team of professionals to learn what to expect and how to adapt. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders, the child’s primary care provider can refer parents to an audiologist, an ear/nose/throat doctor, and a genetic specialist. This team can help determine the cause of the hearing loss and recommend a course of treatment, if possible. Parents should expect to answer questions about the child’s pre-natal and birth history, as well as the family’s medical history. In addition to this information, specialists may recommend further testing of the child, including genetic tests and balance or eye examinations.

All of these tests can help narrow down the cause of the hearing loss and potentially point to a treatment plan. For this reason, it is very important that you talk to a medical professional about your child’s hearing. An audiologist can guide you through the needed appointments and help your family adapt to any changes. Call today to find out how you can save money on these appointments with your True Dental Discounts hearing plan.

Turn down the background noise

While hearing aids are an excellent solution to hearing loss, they can sometimes make it difficult for a person to ignore the background noise in busy restaurants and other crowded places. To improve people’s hearing in such circumstances, the Better Hearing Institute developed several strategies that people with hearing loss can employ while out to eat. Better Hearing Institute suggests:

  • Picking a quieter restaurant that is carpeted and is decorated with other sound-absorbent materials. Places like sports bars often create lots of extraneous noise that can make it difficult for people with a hearing aid to carry on conversations with their dining partners.
  • Dining out on less busy days and avoiding the weekend rush.
  • Previewing the restaurant’s menu online to reduce the number of questions for the server.
  • Sitting with your back to the window so you can better see the people you are speaking with.
  • Indicating choices upfront instead of waiting for the server to ask you which option you would prefer. For instance, order the salad with its dressing, or the sandwich with a particular side dish.
  • Informing your dining companions and/or the server that you may have difficulty hearing in that particular environment and asking them to speak clearly. Everyone – even those without hearing aids – has trouble hearing in a loud environment, so don’t hesitate to ask someone to clarify or repeat a comment.

In addition to following these tips, it is important to talk to an audiologist who will evaluate your hearing and give you advice about your individual situation. Many excellent hearing specialists are available at a discount through your hearing care plan, so take advantage of it and contact a professional today.

Did you know? Facts about hearing loss

The Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center has compiled a list of lesser-known facts about people with hearing loss. Learn more about their experiences by reading a few of these facts below:

  • Approximately 22 million deaf people live in the United States.
  • Overwhelmingly, deaf and hard of hearing people prefer to be called “deaf” or “hard of hearing” – not “hearing impaired.”
  • The huddle formation used by football teams originated at Gallaudet College, a liberal arts college for deaf people in Washington, D.C., that started it to prevent other schools from reading their sign language.
  • The man who invented shorthand, John Gregg, was deaf.
  • A deaf center-fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, William Hoy, invented hand signals for strike and balls in baseball.
  • When Beethoven created his ninth symphony, he was profoundly deaf.
  • Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, was originally an instructor for deaf children and invented the telephone to help his deaf wife and mother to hear.
  • Scuba divers often use sign-language under water.
  • Deaf people develop keener senses of observation, feeling, taste and smell to compensate for their loss of hearing.
  • Deaf people have safer driving records than hearing people nationally.

If you or someone you know has experienced hearing loss, True Dental Discounts can help connect you to an excellent audiologist. Our network includes hundreds of qualified professionals that will help enrich your quality of life at discounted rates every day. Call us at 1-800-747-6190 today.

Hearing loss is more common than you think

Although many people who experience hearing loss feel like they are alone in their condition, statistics show that 10 percent of Americans – or 31 million people – have some type of hearing loss. Hearing loss can arise from a variety of causes, ranging from congenital conditions to over-exposure later in life. If you have trouble hearing, it is important to know you are not alone. According to the Better Hearing Institute:

  • Sixty-five percent of people with hearing loss are younger than retirement age.
  • Sixty percent of people with hearing loss are males.
  • Fifteen percent of baby boomers – people ages 45 to 64 – have hearing loss.
  • Three out of every 1,000 children are born with hearing loss.
  • Nearly one in three people over the age of 65 having hearing loss.
  • The number of children with hearing loss is close to one-and-a-half million.

These statistics show that hearing loss is not uncommon, and resources are available to help anyone who does have trouble hearing. If you think you may be one of the 31 million people in America who lives with some degree of hearing loss, it is very important to visit an audiologist available on your True Dental Discounts hearing plan. An audiologist will conduct an impartial evaluation and help you decide what, if any, steps you need to take to improve your quality of life. Improved hearing is one investment you can’t afford not to make.