What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a hearing and balance health care professional, generally with a doctorate degree, who is trained to evaluate, diagnosis and treat/manage hearing and balance disorders.
When should you consider making an appointment with an audiologist?
You can make an appointment with an audiologist anytime you have concerns for your hearing. However, here are some common reasons why an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test might be helpful:
- For adults:
- You notice you ask people to repeat themselves frequently
- It always seems like other people are mumbling or speaking softly
- You’re missing words or information on the phone or television
- If you listen to the television and it’s too loud for others around you
- You notice that you avoid social gatherings because you have difficulty understanding what is said
- If you are over the age of 65, having your hearing evaluated is recommended
- If you have hearing aids and want to talk about new ones or you feel like your hearing has changed
You can also make an appointment with an audiologist for your child, anytime you might have concerns for their hearing. Here are some reasons why an appointment with an audiologist might be helpful for your child:
- If your child:
- has a speech or language delay, always rule out hearing loss as a contributing factor
- does not respond to environmental sounds
- has difficulty understanding verbal instructions
- listens to the television or headphones too loud
- has family members who had childhood hearing loss
- has frequent ear infections
Why is audiology important?
Although there are many modes of communication (speaking/listening, sign language, use of augmentative communication devices, etc.), when spoken language is our main form of communication our ears and brain must work together to help us understand the sounds around us. Audiology is focused on understanding and helping people of all ages access the sounds around them for both enjoyment and communication. When we can’t communicate with those around us, our enjoyment of life decreases. Untreated hearing loss has been associated with many negative factors that reduce quality of life. Our audiologist can work with you and your family to find the best solution to your communication needs!
About the Audiologist:
Dr. Brittany grew up in Washington State and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington. She then went on to earn her Doctorate in Audiology at a joint program between San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Following graduation she worked at the SDSU audiology clinic supervising first year students and at Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. Her experience includes hearing diagnostics for all ages, vestibular (balance) diagnostics, hearing aids, bone conduction hearing aids and cochlear implants for all ages. She enjoys working with each patient and their family to find the best communication solution that works for them. She moved to Maine in 2020 for her partner to pursue his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of New England, and she has been part of Hammond Associates since August 2020. Although most of Maine has been shut down since she arrived, she has loved exploring all that Maine has to offer! She currently offers services in diagnostic audiology from ages 6-12 months and up, hearing aid assessments and services for all ages, and is hoping to expand services for bone conduction hearing aids and cochlear implants in the Portland area.
Dr. Brittany is licensed in the State of Maine and currently holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (FAAA).
Hearing and Communication Tips
Always work to protect your hearing! Be aware of the sounds around you and wear hearing protection (like ear plugs or ear muffs) if you are in a noisy environment (like at a concert) or around noisy equipment (like lawn mowers, power tools, or motorcycles). Don’t forget to keep ear bud/headphone volumes at a moderate level!
Focus on good communication strategies when talking to others. This might including getting others attention before speaking to them, allowing them to see your face (as long as a mask is not needed!) for visual cues when talking, and speak clearly.
If you are having an important conversation, try to reduce background noise in the area or move to a quieter area.