(Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, ASHA)
The audiologist will use modern equipment to measure your hearing of different "pitches" and your understanding of speech. After testing both ears, the audiologist will explain to you the type and degree of any hearing loss you have.
If you show a pattern of hearing loss that usually is correctable by medical or surgical means, the audiologist will refer you to a physician who specializes in diseases of the ear (called an ENT specialist, otolaryngologist, otologist, or otorhinolaryngologist). Or, the audiologist may suggest you contact your primary care physician, i.e., general practitioner, family practitioner, internist, or, for a child, pediatrician.
Only 5% - 10% of adult hearing problems are medically or surgically treatable. The percentage is higher in children.
If your problem cannot be medically or surgically treated, more testing will then be done to find the best type and model of hearing aid for you. If you have a hearing loss in both ears, the audiologist can also tell you if you should wear two hearing aids. Once the testing is finished, the audiologist will provide you with the recommended hearing aid (or aids) or assist you in buying it from another source.
Federal regulation prohibits any hearing aid sale unless the buyer has first received a medical evaluation from a licensed physician. However, if you are at least 18 years old, you can sign a form that says you are fully aware of your rights but chose not to have the medial evaluation. Then, you can buy the hearing aid without seeing a physician. For people under 18 years of age, waiver of the medical evaluation is NOT permitted.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional and scientific society that represents 81,427 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; and speech, language and hearing scientists. ASHA´s mission is to promote the interest of its members, to provide them with the highest quality services, and to advocate for people with communication disabilities. ASHA´s Consumer Affairs Division provides an information and referral service on a broad range of speech, language and hearing disabilities for both children and adults.
For additional information on this topic or other speech, language, or hearing disabilities, contact the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, 1-800-638-8255 or (301) 897-8682 (Voice or TTY).