Any adult who is suspected of having a hearing or ear disorder can be referred to an audiologist for assessment. Here are some examples of the concerns or disorders that our patients experience.
Some signs of hearing loss include frequently asking people to repeat what they’ve said, turning the volume of the TV up, having friends or family comment that you don’t always seem to hear what is said, etc. There can be several reasons for hearing loss including:
- Ear infections
- Ear pathologies such as Meniere’s disease and Otosclerosis
- Exposure to significant noise levels
An audiologist can assess the degree and nature of the hearing problem. They can also make recommendations for coping with the hearing problem.
Hearing Aid Users
Hearing aid users should have regular hearing tests and hearing aid assessments to make sure that the hearing aid(s) is(are) appropriate for their hearing loss.
Tinnitus can present as ringing, whistling, clicking or buzzing noises in the ear or head. An audiologist can do a tinnitus evaluation for management purposes and give coping skills for dealing with the tinnitus. The Tinnitus Clinic at the General Campus offers support, information and help to those experiencing tinnitus. Theories regarding management have evolved over time. Currently, our clinic uses a variety of therapies (or combination thereof) such as tinnitus masking “relief” therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), cognitive therapy and acceptance.
If you are having problems with dizziness, your doctor may refer you to Audiology for a hearing test. Your ears not only control hearing but also control part of your balance. If you are experiencing dizziness and loss of balance, a hearing test is often part of the assessment that the audiologist will perform.
Noise Exposure / Prevention of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
If you are starting a job where you will be exposed to significant noise levels, your employer will often suggest that you have a hearing test before beginning. Periodic follow-up is important to monitor your hearing sensitivity. Counselling related to hearing protection is offered at TOH.
Ear pain is sometimes related to ear infections, trauma to the ear, or problems of the surrounding area, for example, the jaw. Hearing loss can come with ear pain. Information about your hearing can help your doctor provide the appropriate treatment.
Some medications are strongly associated with hearing loss, tinnitus and/or sensitivity to loud noise. A hearing test is often recommended before starting the ototoxic medication, and during the course of treatment, to monitor its effects on hearing. If you notice ear-related problems occurring after starting a particular medication, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may want to review possible side effects of the medication and refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test.
Cochlear Implant Candidate/User
A cochlear implant candidate/user is typically someone who has a severe to profound hearing loss and receives limited benefit from hearing aids. An Ear Nose and Throat physician (otolaryngologist) and an audiologist assess potential candidates to determine if they would receive benefit from an implant. The implant is surgically placed and then four to six weeks following surgery, the external component is programmed by the audiologist to provide sound. The audiologist provides rehabilitation services after programming to assist the user to adjust to the new sound.