Quick questions about hearing answered

What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and audiology problems and balance disorders. Audiologists provide care for people of all ages and carry out an important job.

What qualifications does an audiologist need?

To become an audiologist, you must complete either an undergraduate or postgraduate university course in audiology. There are a large number of courses available in the UK; different universities have different entry requirements but most require good GCSE and A level results for undergraduate courses and a minimum of a 2:1 in a related degree subject for postgraduate courses.

What causes hearing loss?

There are many possible causes of hearing loss; these include:

  • Obstructions or blockages in the ear
  • Ageing; most people start to lose their hearing very gradually from the age of 40
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noises (known as acoustic trauma)
  • Infection
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Damage to the hair cells inside the ear
  • Glue ear

Taking certain types of medication can also have an adverse effect on hearing.

Are hearing aids suitable for everyone?

Hearing aids are not suitable for everyone. In some cases, other treatments may be more suitable. Your doctor or audiologist will discuss suitable course of treatment with you and help you to come to a decision.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a very small device, which is implanted into the ear. A cochlear implant works by stimulating the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants are often used for children with profound deafness or severe hearing problems but they may also be recommended for adults with deafness or severe hearing problems, especially if they have another disability which makes them more reliant on their hearing. Cochlear implants can be fitted in one or both ears.

What is the difference between analogue and digital hearing aids?

Analogue and digital hearing aids work in a different way. Analogue hearing aids covert sounds into electrical signals, while digital hearing aids convert sounds into numerical codes, which are processed and interpreted by a tiny computer device inside the hearing aid.

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