A recent study reported that 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Those experiencing hearing loss have two options when choosing a new healthcare professional. A patient must decide whether a visit to an audiologist or a hearing aid dispenser. Each professional is necessary to address hearing loss, but audiologists are uniquely able to diagnose and treat hearing problems. Hearing aid dispensers are primarily able to help patients select the proper equipment to alleviate their hearing loss symptoms.


An Audiologist is a Doctor

Audiologists have invested a lot of time and money in 8 years of education. They have learned to diagnose and treat hearing problems in addition to being educated about human anatomy and physiology. Many people experience a range of inconvenient symptoms, such as balance disorders associated with their hearing loss. Audiologists can identify and treat these problems. An Audiologist is capable of performing the tasks of a hearing aid dispenser. They can further provide the patient with a cause analysis of their symptoms and a treatment and rehabilitation plan. SLENT Hearing & Balance Center has been the primary provider of hearing health care in the Northshore area of Louisiana since 2010.


Hearing Instrument Dispensers

Hearing aid dispensers can administer hearing tests and fit patients with hearing aids. Licensed hearing aid dispensers are required to pass a state exam and help patients find the right equipment for their particular hearing loss. Patients seeking information on the cause, severity, treatment, and rehabilitation options for their hearing loss must be referred to an audiologist.

Hearing aid dispensers and their relationship to audiologists is somewhat similar to optometrists and ophthalmologists of eye care. A hearing aid dispenser, like an optometrist, is not a medical doctor. The hearing aid dispenser can perform tests to evaluate the health of your hearing just as an optometrist can perform tests to assess the severity of vision loss. These two professionals are focused on alleviating the symptoms of hearing loss, on the one hand, by fitting hearing aids, and on the other by providing the patient with glasses to address their vision loss.

For comprehensive hearing health care, SLENT Hearing & Balance Center offers qualified practitioners who can accurately diagnose hearing loss and related ear conditions in the Louisiana area.


What to expect

Whether you have chosen a hearing aid dispenser or an audiologist for your hearing health care needs, getting fitted with a device is easy. Knowledgeable technicians will give useful demonstrations on how to use and maintain your hearing aids. If you see an audiologist, you may glean additional helpful information about the cause of your hearing loss. Treatment and rehabilitation, as well as ongoing care, may be provided to you by your audiologist depending on your diagnosis.

At SLENT Hearing & Balance Center, we are experienced in providing patients with diagnostic hearing evaluations as well as evaluation and treatment of vertigo. We are also able to offer musician monitors, custom hearing protection, and assistive listening devices.


A qualified provider makes a difference.

When deciding if your hearing health care will include an audiologist, remember that your continued hearing health relies on an accurate initial diagnosis of the problem. Audiologists can supply you with this crucial information. The American Academy of Audiology recommends that all newborns and children of school age get hearing evaluations. Out of this group, some will be diagnosed with hearing problems. It is essential to visit your audiologist to detect, diagnose, and treat hearing problems so that damage can be reversed or prevented from becoming worse.


Arriving at your audiologist appointment.

When you schedule an appointment with us at SLENT Hearing & Balance Center, we will examine your hearing and identify any hearing issues you may be experiencing. During your exam, we will look for causes such as blockages, anatomical abnormalities, and inflammation that may have led to your hearing decline. You may be asked to cover one ear at a time to see how well you identify speech patterns with each ear. This general test can have inaccuracies, so we may ask you to complete a more thorough evaluation. An audiometer test is more comprehensive than the general examination and can help accurately diagnose hearing loss at more severe levels.

While treatment varies depending on the cause of your hearing loss, the treatment options available are more effective than ever before. New technologies have resulted in the availability of digital as well as analog hearing aids. Digital hearing aids offer the opportunity to selectively tune out sounds such as wind and background, which will result in better speech recognition for the patient. Please contact us for more information on improving your hearing health, or request a callback and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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Dr. JJ Martinez, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA

Dr. JJ Martinez, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA

Dr. JJ Martinez served active duty in the United States Marine Corps before receiving his bachelor's degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2005 and his doctoral degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in 2010. Dr. Martinez is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.