Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an audiologist?
A: Audiologists identify and assess disorders of the hearing and balance systems of children and adults.
Audiologists select, fit, and dispense amplification systems such as hearing aids and related devices; program cochlear implants;
and provide instruction, rehabilitation, and counseling services to enhance human communication. A graduate (doctorate or master) degree is required for practice.
Q: What is the difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid specialist / audioprosthologist?
A: An audiologist must achieve a minimum of a masters degree in audiology though many hold a doctorate (Au.D. or Ph.D.).
They must also go through a period of evaluation by another state licensed audiologist before receiving full state licensure.
A hearing aid specialist (HIS) / audioprosthologist only requires a high school diploma and 6 months of training under another state licensed hearing aid specialist before receiving state licensure.
A HIS cannot diagnose medical factors which can contribute to hearing loss; are trained to sell a hearing aid and administer hearing tests only for that purpose; are not authorized to test children under the age of 19.
Q: What are some signs of hearing loss?
A: You may have a hearing loss if you experience any of these symptoms:
- require frequent repetition
- have difficulty following conversations involving more than 2 people
- think that other people sound muffled or like they're mumbling
- have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like restaurants, malls, or crowded meeting rooms
- have trouble hearing women and children
- have your TV or radio turned up to a high volume
- answer or respond inappropriately in conversations
- have ringing in your ears
- read lips or more intently watch people's faces when they speak with you
- have a family history of hearing loss
- take medications that can harm the hearing system (ototoxic drugs)
- have diabetes, heart, circulation or thyroid problems
- have been exposed to very loud sounds over a long period or single exposure to explosive noise
Q: What are the different types of hearing loss?
A: Conductive, sensorineural, and mixed
- Conductive hearing loss is caused by any condition or disease that blocks or impedes the conveyance of sound through the outer or middle ear.
The result is a reduction in the sound intensity (loudness) that reaches the cochlea. Generally, the cause of conductive hearing loss can be treated
with a complete or partial improvement in hearing.
- Sensorineural hearing loss results from inner ear or auditory nerve dysfunction. Often, then cause cannot be determined. It is typically irreversable
and permanent. It, too, reduces the intensity of sound, but it might also result in a lack of clarity even when sounds, particularly speech, are loud enough.
The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss is amplification through hearing aids.
- A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and a sensorineural
hearing loss. Hearing aids can be beneficial for persons with a hearing loss,
but caution should be exercised.
- Birth defects or genetics (i.e. otosclerosis)
- Ototoxic reaction to drugs or cancer treatment (i.e. antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation)
Q: Are all hearing aids the same?
A: No. Different hearing aid manufacturers have different technology and features that
differentiate them from each other. Also, certain manufacturers innovate in their technology while others license older technology
that has been phased out. We offer hearing aids from several different manufacturers to fit every budget.
Just as important is your choice of hearing aid professional to program your hearing aids. A good hearing aid
is only as good as the person that is programming them. Dr. Duran has devoted her entire educational background and career to
helping people with hearing loss. She stays current on all the latest technology and continuing education to ensure her patients
receive the highest quality service and compassionate care.
Q: What is tinnitus?
A: Tinnitus is commonly referred to as "ringing in the ears", but it can manifest
itself as ringing, chirping, or clicking sounds. These sounds can happen a few times a month or many times in a single day, and can last
a few moments or hours. For some people these sounds can also be constant without relief while sleeping.
Q: What causes tinnitus?
A: Tinnitus can be caused by:
- Spontaneous activity in the hearing system
- Damage to hair cells in the inner ear
- Psychological influences