When Should You See an Audiologist?
As Ontario continues to follow government and public health guidelines to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, you can be assured that Ontario’s regulated audiologists and speech-language pathologists are helping to keep you and your loved ones safe. Expect continued service, with the option of virtual care (on-line vs. in-person appointments). Learn more, visit CASLPO's COVID-19 Information page.
Your hearing helps you communicate freely with others and participate fully in the world around you. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to warning signs of hearing loss, such as needing to turn up the volume on the television or if your child fails to respond to conversational-volume requests.
Having trouble hearing affects us differently at different life stages. Seniors may have a hard time keeping up in conversation with friends and family, hearing doorbells and alarms and understanding healthcare providers. Children might get easily frustrated and could act out; hearing problems in children can contribute to lower grades, trouble interacting with others and a hard time speaking.
If you or a family member are experiencing trouble with hearing and are going to visit an audiologist for help, here are some important tips to know:
- Audiologists can help with much more than hearing aids. These highly trained professionals provide assessment, treatment, (re)habilitation and consultation services for hearing, balance, tinnitus (noise or ringing in the ears), noise sensitivity and auditory processing difficulties (problems with how the brain processes sound).
- You don’t need a referral from your family doctor. Audiologists work in a variety of health and educational settings near you, including hospitals, public health units, community health centres, schools, private practice, industrial settings and hearing aid manufacturers.
- Audiologists are regulated professionals who must follow standards for safe, competent and ethical care. You can make sure the professional you’re seeing is an audiologist who is registered to practise in Ontario by checking out the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario’s (CASLPO) public register.
- Learn what you can expect during your visit. At your first appointment, the audiologist will ask you questions about your hearing or balance difficulties and about your health history in general. They’ll perform a variety of tests and examine your ears with an otoscope. Once your assessment is complete, the audiologist will talk to you about your hearing status, discuss your options and make recommendations. They may also refer you to another health-care professional.
- Know that there is somewhere you can turn to for help if you have any concerns about the care you receive from an audiologist. As a health profession regulator, CASLPO is here to serve the public interest. The College is a resource for you to get more information, file a complaint or find an audiologist near you.
Audiology Problems – An Overview
Consult An Audiologist If You Experience Any Of The Following Problems Or If You Have Any Concerns Relating To Hearing:
- You notice that your baby is not responding to sound
- Your child has recurrent ear infections
- Your child complains of ear aches
- Your child's speech and/or language is delayed
- Your child's speech is unclear or difficult to understand
- You notice that you need to turn up the TV or radio volume excessively
- You have a history of industrial noise exposure
- You have a genetic ear disorder
- You experience ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and/or dizziness
If you have concerns about your child's, a family member's or your own hearing, you may contact an audiologist in your community. The College can assist you in finding an audiologist in your geographic area.
Audiologists work closely with and will often refer clients to other health professionals, such as physicians, and speech-language pathologists in the provision of hearing health care services.