WHAT DOES AN AUDIOLOGIST DO?
An audiologist is a professional who evaluates, diagnoses, & treats people with hearing loss or balance problems. Audiologists have received a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited university. Their academic and clinical training provides a solid foundation for patients ranging from infancy to elderly ages. Professional audiologists diagnose and treat patients with a combination of specialized auditory and vestibular assessments. Audiologists also tailor to specialized & assistive listening devices needs by facilitating the proper selection and fitting.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED AN EVALUATION?
Do you ever have a feeling that you are drifting off being pulled to one side when you are walking?
Do you ever find yourself constantly having to repeat what you say to a person because they did not hear you?
Do you get a feeling of motion, spinning, or falling when moving your head quickly or changing your position, e.g., getting in or out of bed?
Do you ever find yourself constantly having to ask someone to repeat something because you did not hear?
Have you noticed that you have to put the volume on the TV or radio higher than usual to hear efficiently?
Are you uncomfortable trying to move around in the dark?
Do you feel off-balance when walking down aisles and hallways?
Do your feet sometimes not go where you want them to go?
Do you ever experience a sense of unsteadiness? A feeling that you are not sure-footed?
Do you ever experience a fear of falling or stumbling?
Does looking at moving objects such as escalators or out the side window of a car make you queasy?
Do you have difficulty keeping your balance as you walk on different surfaces, e.g., walking from a tile floor onto carpet?
If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes” then you should schedule an evaluation with us.
I HAVE BEEN FEELING DIZZY, SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT THIS?
Feeling dizzy? You are not alone. It is estimated that at least half the population of the United States will be affected by dizziness or balance problems during their lifetime. Balance disorders that cause dizziness may create a variety of problems including imbalance, disorientation, and blurred vision-all of which interfere with quality of life and may lead to serious falls. Balance problems may occur suddenly or develop slowly over time. Dizziness affects people in all age groups but is most prevalent in the elderly. Many dizzy patients may be helped through nonmedical and nonsurgical techniques. There is no medication that effectively treats the complaints of disequilibrium , unsteadiness, or imbalance. These problems require a thorough assessment of the balance system followed by customized therapy to treat the specific symptom. Most episodes of dizziness are associated with disorders of the balance mechanism, or, as it is known in medical terms, the vestibular system. The vestibular system includes a network of complex interconnected pathways between the inner ear, the eyes, the brain, and the nerves of the spine. The vestibular system allows us to interact with our surroundings in a safe, efficient manner. When any part of the vestibular system malfunctions, a wide variety of potentially disabling symptoms may follow. In fact, the word dizziness describes many different symptoms, including:
- A sensation of spinning or rotation (vertigo)
- Feeling faint, particularly noticeable when standing
- Feeling disconnected from, and out of sync with, one’s environment (disorientation)
- Feeling off-balance or unsteady or having the inability to walk a straight line (disequilibrium)
- Decreased visual clarity associated with head movement (visual blurring)
- A sense of discomfort, even fear, of moving about in open, public spaces (anxiety)
- Falls, or even a serious stumble, which can reduce one’s mobility and sense of independence (fear of falling)
Source: American Academy of Audiology Brochure “Feeling Dizzy? Evaluation of the balance system.”