Frequently Asked Questions


What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a health care professional who evaluates, diagnoses and treats hearing loss, as well as other auditory issues like balance disorders and tinnitus. Audiologists are knowledgeable about how to prevent and treat hearing loss and give valuable insight on the best products available. Some audiologists specialize in particular conditions or age groups, but most treat patients of all ages. An audiologist is required to have a doctoral degree. They also have to be licensed in the state that they are practicing.

Along with state licensure and education an audiologist can receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology or, with added training, the American Academy of Audiology’s the Honor of Fellow.

What Kinds Of Treatments And Tests Does An Audiologist Perform?

Typical treatments and services provided by audiologists include:

  • Audiologic evaluations
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Hearing aid maintenance and repairs
  • Consultations and fittings for hearing aids
  • Pediatric detection of hearing loss and treatment
  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Earplug and earmold consultation and fitting
  • Hearing loss protection and prevention programs
  • Programs to treat tinnitus
  • Custom musicians monitors and earplugs
  • Auditory training and hearing rehabilitation
  • Treatment and testing for dizziness or balance issues
  • Evaluations for cochlear implants and implant programming

How Do You Know If You Have Hearing Loss?

Often, because a person’s hearing loss comes on gradually, it is the people close to them who notice their hearing loss before they do. On average, it takes a person seven years before they look for treatment. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms as follows, make an appointment with an audiologist:

  • People’s voices sound like they are mumbling
  • Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves
  • You find yourself laughing at jokes when you haven’t heard what was said
  • You have to ask other people for the details of the meeting you were just at
  • You play the radio or TV add a louder volume than the people around you
  • You do not hear the telephone or doorbell
  • You realize that you were able to understand people better when you look at them when they speak
  • You aren’t able to hear sounds in nature, like leaves blowing or birds chirping
  • You avoid restaurants because of the noise
  • You have ringing in your ears

What Are the Causes of Hearing Loss?

There are several factors that cause hearing loss. These are medications, ear or head trauma, aging, being around loud noises, infections, diseases, and a few other causes. An estimated 20% of grown adults in the US claim some hearing loss.

How do we diagnose hearing loss?

To diagnose hearing loss properly you need a formal hearing evaluation. This test will help your audiologist determine the kind and severity of your loss. The set of tests performed will also include a gathering of your case history, an inspection of your ear, and will evaluate your ability to understand speech and recommend any needed hearing devices. Your results will be plotted onto a graph which is called an audiogram.

What Levels Of Hearing Loss Do People Experience?

Audiogram Results:

  • Normal range of hearing (0-25 dB HL)
  • Slight hearing loss (26-40 dB HL)
  • Moderate range of hearing loss (41-70dB HL)
  • Severe range of hearing loss (71-90 dB HL)
  • Profound loss of hearing loss (greater than 91 dB HL)

What Are The Main Hearing Loss Types?

There are three primary types of hearing loss: sensorineural, conductive, and mixed. These are described in more detail on our types of hearing loss page.

The three types of hearing loss include:

  1. Sensorineural hearing loss: the problem is located within the inner ear or is an issue with the auditory nerve
  2. Conductive hearing loss: a problem within the external part of the ear or middle ear
  3. Mixed hearing loss: problems with both the middle and inner ear

Hearing Loss Signs In Children

Hearing loss can happen in children because of a number of reasons, such as, head trauma, genetic factors, ear infections and certain medications. Make an appointment with a professional if you see any of the following in your child:

  • Failed newborn screening of hearing
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Delays in language acquisition and speech
  • Not turning toward the location of noises after the age of six months
  • Not startled when there is a loud sound
  • Daydreaming often in all different situations
  • Has trouble following directions that are verbal
  • High volume on the radio to TV
  • Concerns cited by teachers or failed hearing screening at school
  • The child complains that they aren’t able to hear

Any concerns with your child’s hearing should be addressed immediately. Hearing loss can cause delays in development that will impact your child negatively.

What Style Of Hearing Aid Do I Need?

Hearing aids come in all shapes and styles and four a wide array of needs. Some come with Bluetooth capabilities. Some are designed to go in the ear and some over the ear. A few of the things to consider when choosing a hearing aid are the following:

  • The severity and type of hearing loss
  • Visual abilities and manual dexterity
  • Power requirements
  • Aesthetics and cosmetics
  • Budget
  • Lifestyle requirements
  • Medical and anatomical considerations

What Are Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)?

Assisted listening devices are designed to raise the volume of sound coming from TVs, the radio or a public speaker, without highering the other background noises. This result is because the assisted listening device’s microphone is placed near the device of the talker, while the hearing aid’s microphone is near the listener.

Assisted listening devices include phone amplifying devices, auditorium type systems, alarm clocks and TV listening systems.

What Is Different Between A Hearing Instrument Specialist (HIS) and an Audiologist?

There are several different hearing specialist available, differing by education and training. The two that are the most often seen for hearing issues are hearing instrument specialists and audiologists.

Audiologist: An audiologist specializes in diagnosing, training and monitoring disorders relating to hearing and balance. They are schooled in anatomy and physiology, cochlear implants, amplification devices, acoustics, psychophysics electrophysiology, and auditory rehabilitation. Becoming an audiologist usually takes eight years of post secondary education. An audiologist must also pass a standardized examination for state licensure. If an individual is experiencing auditory issues or balance problems, or hearing loss, an audiologist is the best professional to diagnose and treat these issues.

Hearing instrument specialist (HIS): Hearing instrument specialists are licensed to conduct audiometric testing to fit and sell hearing aids. To receive this license, they must take a certification program, take an exam and complete in the field training. The hearing instrument specialist is strange to work with hearing aids, but they cannot diagnose hearing loss.

What do Hearing Aids Cost?

This is a very great question and one most people wonder about. It is actually the most commonly asked question, so we have devoted a page on it. Please check it out!

For more information on pricing please see our page here.

What Should You Expect At Your Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation?

Evolution Hearing’s diagnostic hearing evaluation is a complete evaluation of your hearing issues. We determine if there is hearing loss present and to what degree. We locate the part of the ear the loss is originating from and whether it is correctable or permanent.

At your evaluation we provide the following:

  • We do a visual inspection to be sure that your earwax is not blocking or occluding the ear’s pathway
  • You will provide a complete case history, listing any hearing loss in your family
  • We will explain how to read your audiogram once we perform the tests
  • We will perform an individual sound booth test that provides us with a baseline to show the exact extent of hearing loss and whether it is correctable or permanent

I Have An Old Set Of Hearing Aids From A Friend. Can I Use Them?

We understand that hearing aids can be expensive. When we are able, we will try our best to accommodate you. With that said, our main objective is for your hearing to be the best it can be. If we are able to use your friend’s set we will work with you to do that. If this is not possible we will provide you with our best recommendation for a hearing aid device.

For additional information or to schedule your appointment, contact our locations in Charlottesville or Richmond Virginia, today.

New Patient Diagnostic Suite - Schedule Now!

Our New Patient Diagnostic Suite is a comprehensive appointment that allows you to receive complete and extensive information about the status of your hearing. It includes, but is not limited to: Audiometric hearing test(audiogram), Tympanometry, Cognitive screening, Dexterity screening, HHIA questionnaire, Speech testing. Don't be fooled by "free hearing test" ads- they don't give enough information to help you with a complete solution.