Why Should I See an Audiologist and not a Hearing Instrument Specialist?

Audiologists are doctors of hearing, not just sellers of hearing aids. An audiologist has an advanced educational degree in all aspects of hearing and balance disorders, including prevention, identification, diagnosis, management, and treatment for patients of all ages. Included in that treatment of hearing disorders is the selection and fitting of hearing instruments. Audiologists are qualified to bill insurance companies for diagnostic evaluations and are often part of a team of professionals
participating in the care of their patients.

A hearing instrument specialist (HIS), sometimes known as a hearing aid dispenser (HAD), is only required to have a high school education, take a short course on hearing and hearing aids, and pass a test administered by the state. Under state law, a hearing instrument specialist is only permitted to test hearing for the purpose of selling hearing instruments. Their level of training and expertise can vary widely.

If you’re looking for professional audiologists Harrisonburg, VA locals trust, look no further than Meadowcrest Audiology.

Should I See My Doctor First?

It is not required that you see your doctor prior to seeing the audiologist. If any abnormalities are found during examination or testing, the audiologist will not hesitate to refer you to an ENT physician or your primary care physician for a consultation before continuing your care. For more questions like this one, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are the audiologists Harrisonburg, VA locals love!

What Are Signs/Symptoms of Hearing Loss?

Common signs/symptoms of hearing loss include:​

  • Increased difficulty hearing familiar voices
  • Misinterpreting what people say
  • Increased difficulty hearing in the presence of background noise
  • Becoming more tired or irritable after straining to hear all-day
  • Trouble hearing on the phone
  • Family complaining of how loud you need the TV or radio
  • Ringing or other noises in your ears

If you are experiencing one or more of these signs, contact our office to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. We offer hearing aids Harrisonburg, VA locals depend on.

What Are the Different Parts in My Ears?

There are three parts to the ear:

  • Outer ear: the visible part of your ear (the pinna) and the ear canal
  • Middle ear: the eardrum, the air space behind the eardrum, which is ventilated by the Eustachian tube, the three tiny bones in the ear (the
    malleus, the incus, and the stapes), and the entrance to the inner ear called the round window
  • Inner ear: the cochlea, which houses the hearing nerve, and the semi-circular canals, or the balance system
Illustration of the anatomy of the human ear

If you’re looking to learn more about your ears from the audiologists Harrisonburg, VA locals rely on, contact us today!

What is Conductive vs. Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is a problem in the outer or middle ear and sound cannot reach the hearing nerve. Some common causes of conductive hearing loss are earwax, middle ear infections, and a broken bone in the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss is often medically correctable.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. This can be a result of some diseases of the ear, damage caused by excessive noise exposure, and aging. Sensorineural hearing loss is most often permanent.

Is Hearing Loss Common? What About Tinnitus?

  • Over 48 million Americans of all ages have some degree of hearing loss.
  • According to a March 2021 report from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.
  • Nearly 50 million Americans experience tinnitus, according to the American Tinnitus Association.

What Happens if I Don’t Do Anything About My Hearing Loss?

Research shows that untreated hearing loss:

  • Negatively impacts personal relationships
  • Lowers quality of life
  • Decreases the ability to communicate
  • Can cause depression and isolation
  • Contributes to mental decline in multiple ways
  • Increases the risk of dementia
  • Creates balance issues leading to increased falls
  • Puts an extra burden,or cognitive load, on the brain

What is Tinnitus?

TIN-it-us or tin-NIGHT-us (both pronunciations are correct) is the broad term used for noises in your head. It is often described as ringing, buzzing, humming, screeching, chirping, etc. Tinnitus is a “phantom” sound, meaning, there is no external stimulus producing the sound. Over 50 million Americans experience some degree of tinnitus, some cases much more severe than others. Sometimes it is related to hearing loss, sometimes not. Although it can be associated with a variety of diseases for which there may be a cure, there is no cure for tinnitus.

What are the Differences Between Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids and Prescription Hearing Aids?

OTC hearing aids are for adults age 18 and over who have a “perceived” mild to moderate hearing loss. Like most over-the-counter products, they are self-selected by the consumer and may or may not be returnable.

​Prescription hearing aids are fit by licensed hearing care professionals after a diagnostic hearing evaluation and needs assessment have been performed. Prescription hearing aids can be fit on patients of all ages with all types of hearing loss. They are customized to the patient’s hearing loss and personal listening preferences, as well as to the physical size and shape of the ears. The personal on-going care you receive from your audiologist is extremely valuable in your future success with hearing devices.

How Will I Know if Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Will Work For Me?

The first step is to see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation. This evaluation will show you the degree of hearing loss and the part of the ear that is causing your hearing loss. It will also determine if there is an underlying medical condition that requires a visit to the doctor before considering hearing aids. This information will help you decide whether OTC hearing aids are the best choice or if your needs would be better addressed by prescription hearing aids.

Do You Accept My Insurance?

We do accept many insurances. Please call our office to ask about your specific plan.