What to Expect from an Audiology Clinic

Hearing Care CenterAre you visiting an audiology clinic in Northumberland such as Northumberland Hearing Center? Do you have expectations of what tests will be done during your visit? To give you a primer of what happens in an audiology clinic, here’s an overview.

The audiologist

An audiologist is tasked to examine and treat patients with issues in hearing and balance. Audiologists hold a doctorate in audiology. They take an exam to be licensed in the state in which they are planning to work. Audiologists serve in several settings, most notably in hospitals and clinics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, audiologist jobs are expected to increase by 37 percent by 2020. Such is the growing demand for audiology services.

Key tools of the audiologist

An otoscope is a device used to diagnose if a patient has an ear infection or disorder. The audiologist places the tip of the device into the patient’s ear. A light beam shines through the device to probe the ear canal.

Another essential tool is the audiometer, used to measure any hearing loss. A series of tones are played through the audiometer’s headphones, while the audiologist controls volume by increasing or decreasing it. If a patient hears a tone, he or she presses a button or raises his or her hand.

The audiology test

An audiology test or hearing exam is a non-invasive test. A patient, wearing headphones, stays in a sound-treated booth or enclosure. While in the booth, your audiologist will communicate with you, asking you to listen to tones of different pitches and volumes. You will be asked to push a button or raise a hand if you hear them. The test, a part called pure tone audiometry, measures the softest possible sounds you can hear at a given frequency.

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Speech audiometry is an integral part of many hearing tests. It uses recorded speech instead of pure tones. If necessary, the audiologist may use tympanometry to test the middle ear and eardrum, and another test to evaluate your acoustic reflexes.

An audiology clinic, through its many tests, is the place where you can be assured of a healthy and well-functioning hearing.