An audiologist is an autonomous professional with a masters or doctorate degree in hearing science. Audiologists are certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and are licensed and certified to practice audiology and dispense hearing aids in the state of Washington.
The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association awards that Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) after an individual has completed their education, a one-year full-time internship, and passed a rigorous national competency examination. The American Academy of Audiology has stated, By virtue of their graduate education, professional certification and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, refer patients to medical treatments, and provide hearing rehabilitation services.
Audiologists are the health care providers that you see for hearing evaluations. You may see them for routine examinations as part of your annual overall health physical, or you may be referred by your physician if you are having problems with your ears, hearing, or experiencing dizziness or tinnitus (ringing or roaring in your ears).
In providing their services, audiologists use specialized equipment in order to obtain accurate data, which describe the degree, extent and site of hearing loss. Audiologists evaluate hearing in sound booths using professionally calibrated equipment.
Audiologists perform general hearing tests. They also conduct in-depth diagnostic evaluations to assist your physician in determining the cause of your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can be caused by serious medical problems in your hearing and/or balance systems. Many of these problems are medically treatable. Some of these pathologies include: middle ear infections, otosclerosis (bony growth around the last middle ear bone), Menieres syndrome, and acoustic tumors.