When should you see an Audiologist?
As Ontario continues to slowly and safely re-open during 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. You can expect standards of care and service, with an increase in virtual care.
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.