Need a Reliable Audiologist in the Johannesburg Area?
It would probably come as quite a surprise to learn just how many people visit an audiologist in Johannesburg and other South African cities each day. In fact, many of those who are reading this article may themselves be in need of this type of specialised investigation and yet remain quite unaware of the fact. The simple truth is that hearing loss is almost always quite a gradual process. In practice, it can already be quite far advanced before those affected may become sufficiently aware of their impairment to get around to seeking some professional help.
The fact is that most people will, over time, experience a loss of auditory acuity. This is a natural process known as presbycusis that affects the ability to clearly discern higher frequencies of sound. It begins in early adulthood but it will not normally become evident for several decades and is a very common consequence of aging although it is a genetic variable.
Although, even with this type of natural deterioration, there is a need for those affected to be investigated and managed, the need can be more acute when the symptoms occur earlier in life. In Johannesburg, an audiologist may devote as much time to examining young people, including small children and babies, as that spent on his or her elderly patients. So what precisely is the role of these clinical specialists?
There was a time when a GP might assess a patient’s hearing by whispering phrases from the back of a room and determining whether or not they were heard. Since those days, much more has been learned about audition and the management of varying degrees of deafness. This, in turn, has created the need for specialised health professionals to both perform more precise testing and to determine the most appropriate course for remediation wherever possible.
A typical procedure at one of The Ear Institute clinics would be to begin with a physical examination of the ears. During this, signs of a simple infection might be discovered and the patient referred to a GP while, in those clinics that have a resident ENT specialist present, further investigation will often be conducted on site. Where no such physical signs are seen, it becomes important to quantitate the degree of impairment and to determine whether both or just one of the ears is affected. In addition, it is necessary to distinguish between conductive and sensorineural impairment.
The audiologists in our Johannesburg facility and in all of The Ear Institute clinics have access to the latest, state of the art audiometry equipment and, with it, these hearing specialists are able to determine which audio frequencies are most affected and to precisely what degree. This accumulated data can then be used as the basis for fine tuning a suitable amplification device so as to best satisfy the unique needs of any given patient.
Advances in the design of hearing aids have also meant an end to the one size fits all philosophy. Today patients may choose between behind-the-ear and in-the-ear models and, in the latter case, an accurate mould of the ear canal will be created to ensure a good fit. In more severe cases a cochlear implant may be recommended by our audiologists in Johannesburg and nationwide.