An Interview with Audiologist, Dr. Veronica Heide.
A revealing dialog showcasing what you need to know about an audiologist.
Veronica Heide, Au.D. is an experienced audiologist with a wealth of knowledge about the field of audiology, the latest hearing loss technologies, and the personal patient stories that shape the industry. Our CapTel team had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Heide (VH) to gain her thoughts about what people should know about audiologists. Read on to discover the powerful impact specialists like Dr. Heide can have on people with hearing loss.
CapTel: Tell us about the role of an audiologist.
VH: Audiologists are involved in the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of hearing and balance concerns. They help with the selection and fitting of hearing instruments, cochlear implants, and assistive devices, as well as balance rehabilitation. They can also fit musicians with custom earplugs and in‐ear monitors for hearing conservation and help patients with tinnitus and sound tolerance problems.
CapTel: What specialized training and education are required to become an audiologist?
VH: Currently, the entry-level degree required to practice audiology is a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) It is a doctoral‐level degree program granted by accredited universities and professional schools. Audiologists are licensed by the state in which they practice and must meet continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses. Audiologists also keep up with the fast‐paced changes in the areas of science, genetics, engineering, new product development, practice management, and government affairs.
CapTel: When should you see an audiologist?
VH: You are never too young to have your hearing checked. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. In Wisconsin, every newborn has a hearing test at birth to screen for hearing loss. Children will typically have another hearing screening before entering school and may be seen routinely if they have hearing problems. Five out of six children experience an ear infection before the age of three.
You should see a licensed audiologist for a diagnostic hearing evaluation at least every decade of life or annually if you have a known hearing or balance problems. You may also see an otolaryngologist (ENT) physician in conjunction with your visit to the audiologist to diagnose and treat any concurrent medical concerns.
CapTel: What are the signs of hearing loss and balance loss?
VH: The signs of hearing loss include:
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty understanding soft and distant speech
- Difficulty understanding speech in background noise
- TV turned up louder than others find comfortable
- Other people seem to mumble or not speak clearly
- Difficulty understanding women and children’s voices
When we talk about loss of balance, symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually. The signs include:
- Vertigo (room is spinning)
- Presyncope (feeling faint)
- Disequilibrium (loss of balance)
If you have a sudden onset of hearing or balance loss, seek immediate medical attention at the ER.
CapTel: If an audiologist recommends treatment, what might a patient expect?
VH: Once a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation has been completed, the audiologist can recommend the next steps relying on evidence‐based care and best‐practice methods. They look at the whole patient to help them find solutions that meet many needs, including insurance coverage, physical dexterity, vision, lifestyle, as well as hearing and balance abilities.
Treatment plans may include:
- Advising patients on the proper type of hearing protection devices
- Aural rehabilitation (improving communication ability)
- Tinnitus management
- Hearing enhancement devices
- Balance therapies
CapTel: What should patients consider when they are looking for an audiologist?
VH: Loss of hearing and balance disrupts the lives of families. Finding a Doctor of Audiology who connects and communicates effectively with you and your family is very important. Professional knowledge, technical skills, and experience are also central factors to consider when selecting an audiologist. You may want schedule an appointment simply to get to know a new audiologist and talk about any concerns you have.
CapTel: Is there anything patients should do to prepare for an appointment with an audiologist?
VH: Be prepared to share your personal story at your appointment. Write down your three biggest concerns to initiate the conversation with your audiologist.
Also bring along with you:
- Previous test results
- Products you are using
- List of all your medications and supplements
Many practices will send a history form to you to complete before the appointment, which helps organize and investigate areas of concern and any history that would help the audiologist meet your needs.
As a safety precaution, be sure that you don’t use Q‐tips to try and clean your ears before your appointment as it pushes wax further into your ear canals, making it more difficult to remove.
CapTel: What tests will an audiologist perform and how long will the appointment last?
VH: The tests and equipment used for hearing evaluation are vast and different than those used for balance evaluation. The good news is that none of the tests are painful. The length of the appointment depends on the presenting problem and the number of tests that need to be done to diagnose the type and degree of the problem.
>>Check out these common hearing tests that your audiologist may perform here.
CapTel: In your opinion, what makes an audiologist successful?
VH: I think that compassion for the patients they serve, an inquiring mind, and a love of learning make for a successful audiologist.
CapTel: In closing, is there anything else our readers should know about audiologists?
VH: Audiology is a wonderful profession that combines a love of science and technology with helping people. Audiologists are advocates for the needs of their patients. USA Today has voted Audiology as one of the best professions for young people to consider.
To learn more about Audiologist, Dr. Veronica Heide or to schedule an appointment at Audible Difference, LLC, visit audible-difference.com or call (608) 273‐3036 today. If you’re outside of the Madison, WI area, use this national directory to locate a licensed audiologist near you.
For more about what you need to know about an audiologist, visit the following online resources referenced in Dr. Heide’s interview responses:
- Audiology Foundation of America
- Academy of Doctors of Audiology
- American Academy of Audiology
- American Speech‐Language‐Hearing Association (ASHA)
If you have hearing loss and struggle to hear what your caller says, discover how a CapTel captioned telephone can help you catch every word.
Interested in checking out additional posts about living with hearing loss? Read more articles on hearing loss on our blog today.