If you think you or your child might not hear well enough, UNC Health can help. While hearing loss affects people of all ages, you may be able to slow or stop the loss of hearing with care from UNC Health audiologists.
What Is Audiology?
Audiology is a science that studies hearing and balance-related disorders. An audiologist is a medical professional who evaluates, diagnoses, and manages hearing loss or balance disorders.
When to See an Audiologist
Make an appointment with a UNC Health audiologist if you experience:
- Trouble understanding conversations or hearing everyday sounds
- Difficulties with balance or sensations of spinning
- Ear pain, itching, or other irritation
- Fluid leaking from your ear(s)
- Ringing or buzzing in the ear, which could be a sign of tinnitus
Services & Treatment
Your first appointment with a UNC Health provider starts with discussion about your symptoms. A hearing test helps your doctor create a care plan or recommend you to other specialists—such as ear, nose, and throat doctors—to help you.
Hearing tests diagnose hearing ability and loss in adults and children. Transmitted sounds travel through the ear and into the brain, where doctors can check how the brain responds. These tests may include:
- Auditory brainstem (ABR) test – Measures how the brain responds to sound
- Immittance testing – Tells your doctor or audiologist about the health of your eardrum
- Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test – Uses a small probe in the ear to send sound while measuring the ear’s response
If you have moderate or severe hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend a hearing aid. You wear hearing aids behind or inside the ear to help make sounds louder.
A surgeon places cochlear implants to help hearing loss or deafness by sending sound directly to the hearing nerve.