Frequently Asked Questions


When you or a loved one experiences a hearing problem, it can stress many relationships and affect many aspects of one's life. As a potential consumer of hearing health care services we would like you to make informed choices. The following FAQs are the ones most asked by people with hearing loss.

  1. What is an audiologist?
  2. Why should I see an audiologist?
  3. What is the youngest age a child can have his/her hearing tested?
  4. How do I know if I have a hearing problem?  (will open a non-ILAA page)
  5. How do I get more information about hearing and hearing loss?  (will open a non-ILAA page)
  6. How do I get information about hearing aids? (will open a non-ILAA page)
  7. How do I find an audiologist? Simply use our Find an Audiologist section.
  8. How can I ask an audiologist a question? Use the Contact Us section and we will direct you to someone who can best answer your questions.



What is an audiologist?

Audiologists are the only professionals who are university trained and licensed to identify, evaluate, diagnose, and treat audiologic disorders of hearing and balance. Audiologists may be found practicing in Private Audiology Offices, Hospitals, Medical Practices, Universities, Private and Public Agencies and Schools.

All individuals with suspected hearing loss or balance disorders require audiological tests to determine the type, degree, and cause of the impairment. Managed care companies are slowly realizing that efficient cost-effective hearing health care requires that primary care physicians refer patients directly to audiologists to determine whether rehabilitation or medical/surgical treatment is indicated. This occurs because fewer than 20% of all individuals with hearing loss require medical or surgical treatment. Rehabilitation/treatment of these permanent disorders consists primarily of the design, selection, and fitting of hearing aids and/or assistive listening and alerting devices, which is usually completed within the audiology office.

The services provided by audiologists include:
  • Comprehensive audiological evaluations including tests of hearing sensitivity, speech understanding, middle ear function, and inner ear and auditory nerve function
  • Diagnostic tests for balance/dizziness disorders.
  • Design, selection, and fitting of hearing aids and/or assistive listening devices.
  • Design, selection, installation, and monitoring of classroom amplification systems.
  • Hearing conservation programs for industry.
  • Rehabilitation/therapy which might include training in strategies to improve aided and unaided hearing, speechreading, and sign language.



Why should I see an audiologist?

Audiologists hold a master’s, research doctoral (Ph.D.) or clinical doctoral (Au.D.) degree from an accredited university with special training in the prevention, identification, assessment, and the rehabilitation of persons with hearing impairments and balance disorders. Illinois audiologists are licensed to practice audiology by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Audiologists are required to complete a full-time internship and pass a demanding national comprehensive examination. By virtue of their graduate education, professional certification, and licensure, audiologists are the most qualified professionals to perform hearing tests, fit hearing aids and assistive listening devices, provide rehabilitative services, and refer patients for medical treatment.  Audiologists in Illinois do not require a second license in hearing instrument dispensing, and hearing instrument dispensers without graduate degrees in audiology are not qualified for an audiology license.  To learn whether the professional you are seeing is a licensed audiologist in Illinois, use the IDPR License Look-Up.



What is the youngest age a child can have his/her hearing tested?

Audiologists can test children of any age, including newborns. In fact, as of December 1, 2002, all hospitals in Illinois are required to provide hearing screenings for all newborns. Newborns can be tested using non-invasive methods that either record the brain's response to sound [Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test], or by introducing sounds via a probe in the ear and measuring the ear's response to those sounds [otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)]. When a child is old enough to localize sounds, he/she can undergo behavioral testing in a sound booth using visual reinforcement and play audiometry. Children who are approximately three years of age and older can be tested much like adults.


Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA)                      
4000 Westgate
Springfield, IL 62711 
 
Phone: (217) 691-1506 

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