Audiologists diagnose and treat hearing impairments, but they can also help with other ear-related issues. Additional conditions treated by audiologists include vertigo and other balance disorders, as well as tinnitus, which is associated with a persistent ringing in the ears. Dr. Kathryn McGee, Dr. Jason Wigand, and Dr. Kelly Long, the experienced audiologists at South Carolina Institute in Columbia, diagnose, treat, and help prevent hearing and balance problems.
What is an Audiologist?
Audiologists are highly skilled professionals who specialize in treating hearing impairments and balance disorders. They perform a wide range of assessments, including hearing tests, to diagnose various conditions and disorders. Once the specific problem is identified, a personalized treatment plan is developed. The audiologists at our practice in Columbia treat hearing and balance issues in patients of all ages, including infants, children, teens, and adults.
Conditions Treated by Audiologists
Many patients are referred to audiologists for help with hearing impairment. Comprehensive hearing evaluations are performed to determine the type and extent of hearing loss. If a hearing aid is needed, an audiologist helps patients select one that will meet their needs. The audiologist also ensures the hearing aid fits properly. They can usually repair hearing aids, as well, when the device is not performing optimally.
Audiologists also help protect hearing by providing custom-fitted earplugs for individuals who work or perform in loud settings, such as musicians. Additionally, they can fit individuals for custom swim plugs if needed. Based on your individual lifestyle and other factors, an audiologist could provide individualized recommendations for precautions you can take to better protect your hearing.
In addition to treating hearing loss, audiologists also treat balance disorders, including chronic dizziness and vertigo. Issues with the ears can affect balance. The inner ear sends signals to the brain regarding physical orientation. When the brain thinks you are off-balance, you might experience dizziness. When something, such as an infection, interferes with the signals being sent by the ear to the brain, you can experience a dizzy sensation even if you are upright and completely balanced. An audiologist can diagnose the exact problem and treat it.
Tinnitus is another issue commonly treated by audiologists. It is a condition associated with a buzzing, ringing or other sounds in one or both ears. The noise can be persistent or occur off and on but is not caused by an actual stimulus. Tinnitus can be an indication of hearing loss, but it can also develop for other reasons, such as a head injury, exposure to loud sounds, or a side effect of certain medications. The condition cannot be cured but audiologists utilize hearing aids, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, and sound therapy to help patients experience relief.
Visit an audiologist if you are experiencing hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or balance problems. To schedule an appointment with Dr. McGee, Dr. Wigand, or Dr. Long, our knowledgeable audiologists, call South Carolina Institute in Columbia at (803) 424-2208. We also have offices in downtown Columbia, Sumter, Irmo, and Lugoff, SC.