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When to See an Audiologist

There are many reasons to have your hearing evaluated by an audiologist. Hearing loss may occur as a result of genetics, aging, medication side effects, pathology of the ear, loud noise exposure, and much more. Hearing loss can happen suddenly or your hearing may slowly worsen over time. If your hearing loss is gradual, others may notice that you are having difficulty hearing before you do. It is important to have your hearing checked as soon as you notice changes in your hearing. Untreated hearing loss may lead to poor understanding, fatigue, depression, and social isolation.

If any of the following applies to you, you should make an appointment with an audiologist:

  • You have difficulty hearing or understanding speech
  • Others often have to repeat themselves for you
  • You notice changes or fluctuation in your hearing
  • You hear better in one ear than the other
  • You “hear” but you do not “understand” what is being said
  • Family and friends are frustrated because you do not seem to listen
  • You have trouble following the conversation when multiple people are talking
  • You hear ringing, buzzing, hissing, or other sounds that are not heard by others
  • Family members tell you that you turn the radio or TV too loud
  • You have a hard time hearing in noisy environments
  • Your ears feel plugged or full
  • You find yourself having to focus harder or read lips to understand speech
  • You respond inappropriately because you mishear what is being said
  • You find that many people mumble or do not speak clearly
  • You avoid social situations because you do not want to feel left out of conversation
  • You have family history of hearing loss
  • You have a known hearing loss that should be monitored annually for stability

Consider having your child’s hearing evaluated if you notice any of the following:

  • Your child struggles to hear in noisy environments
  • Your child frequently says “what?” or “huh?”
  • Your child does not seem to listen or has difficulty following directions
  • Your child returns home from school unusually tired or irritable
  • Your child has academic difficulty
  • Your child focuses intently on your face while you are speaking
  • Your child has speech or language delays
  • Your child’s teacher reports that your child seems “bored” or they are not paying attention
  • Your child shows signs of stress or anxiety in the classroom

The audiologist may recommend hearing aids or refer you to another provider, like an otolaryngologist, for treatment of your hearing loss and other symptoms. If it is determined that you have hearing loss, it is important to have your hearing rechecked every year.

Information provided by Danielle Dupuis, AuD, CCC-A, an audiologist at the UT Health East Texas ENT Center on Three Lakes Parkway in Tyler. Call 903-747-4098 to schedule an appointment or visit uthealtheasttexasdoctors.com/services/ear-nose-and-throat/audiology.