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Audiology

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Audiology is a medical science which involved the study and care of the ears and hearing. A doctor who specialises in Audiology is called an Audiologist. The job of an audiologist is to help children and adults who have lost some or all of their hearing and to prevent damage to their hearing by treating problems which could cause hearing loss, like Glue Ear. They also give advice on protecting their hearing by wearing ear protectors and turning down the volume when they play loud music through headphones.

Audiologists can test people's hearing to see if they have problems with it. They play sounds at different volume levels and frequencies through earphones and the patient being tested usually responds by pushing a button or switch when they hear the sound. The result of this test creates a type of picture called an audiogram.

Audiogram showing a patient with very poor hearing. The line with circles shows the hearing on the right ear, while the one with arrows shows the hearing on the left ear.

If a hearing test shows that a person has lost some of their hearing, the audiologist can recommend different ways of treating the problem. A lot of people benefit from using hearing aids, which amplify the problem sounds to make them easier to hear. Others need more specialist help, such as Cochlear implants or Bone conduction aids.

An adult in a soundproof booth, having their hearing tested.

Audiologists can also help people overcoming other problems, such as when they have whistling noises in their ears (Tinnitus) or when their brains have problems processing sounds (called an Auditory Processing Disorder).

Because Audiology is a medical speciality, training to be an audiologist means that you must go to university and get a degree to do the job.