For many people, the realization that your hearing may be declining causes a little anxiety. What should I do? Will I need hearing aids? These and other questions are best answered by a professional who can not only test your hearing, but also evaluate any health problems that may be contributing to hearing issues. Finding an audiologist can appear daunting at first, but these tips will help you find a hearing professional who offers testing, advice and solutions.

Get a referral

There are several sources of referrals when it comes to finding an audiologist. First, check with your insurance company to see which audiologists accept your plan. Some insurance companies may require a professional referral. Your primary health care provider may have a recommendation. One of the best ways to find an audiologist is to check with friends and neighbors, especially those who wear hearing aids. They not only can suggest an audiologist, but also provide information about exams and hearing aid experience. There’s a good chance that if your neighbor likes his audiologist, you will too.

Research your options

The internet is a great place to look for an audiologist and find information about hearing loss and treatment. Search for professional websites such as the American Academy of Audiology. Many of these organizational websites offer search pages to help find an audiologist in your area and will give you credentials and professional membership information as well.

If there is a medical university in your area with an audiology program, call to find out more about the program and to determine if they are accepting patients. If there is no audiology program, ask if the ear, nose and throat department makes referrals.

You also will find a wealth of information on the audiologist’s website. There should be customer testimonials, biographical information, information about the practice and possibly a blog about hearing loss and treatment.

Location of the office

Finding an audiologist close to your home or work is important because it’s likely you will have more than one visit. In addition to being close by, look for an office that has a location with convenient parking. Is it a stand-alone building or in an office park? On the ground floor or an upper floor? Is it a single practice or a group practice? These are considerations that could have an impact on your decision.

If you need hearing aids, you will make several visits to the audiologist. You also will be back for batteries, cleaning and problem-solving. Having an audiologist close to home or work makes things easier.

Finding an audiologist is not difficult once you know where to look and who to ask. Because audiologists are professionals with advanced degrees, you will receive a thorough exam and quality care. When you notice that you may not be hearing as well as you used to, it’s important to see an audiologist who can determine the cause and treatment of any hearing loss.