4 Signs that Mean You Need to See a HIS

hearing specialist demonstrating how a hearing test is performed on a patient

Before we dive into the four signs that may mean you need to see a hearing instrument specialist (HIS), it’s essential to know what this type of professional does. Essentially, a HIS is a state-licensed hearing care professional who assesses common types of hearing loss. 

Those who hold the HIS license can administer and interpret hearing tests, identify candidates for hearing aids, oversee the fitting and maintenance of aids and provide repairs to any malfunctioning devices.

So, when might you need to see a hearing instrument specialist? Of course, every individual’s circumstances are unique, but these four signs can indicate a need to take that next step.

Your balance is unstable, or falls are more frequent.

The occasional fall or stumble as a person ages is normal. However, if you are experiencing frequent balance issues, falling with more regularity, or otherwise changing your regular routines and habits to avoid falling, it’s probably time to see a HIS. Balance is very closely related to the inner ear, and a failure to maintain balance can be a sign of an auditory issue. Discovering the connection between a potential hearing issue and frequent falls can both help you prevent significant injuries from a fall and catch any auditory problems in their early stage. 

You are unable to hear loud noises.

Age-related hearing loss is quite common among older adults, and for many, it’s a matter of just missing a word here and there or having to turn up the volume on the television from time to time. But when significant deficiencies occur, and you cannot hear loud noises like a car alarm, doorbell, or even a telephone ringing, it’s likely time to see a specialist. Your HIS can evaluate your hearing loss with a series of tests and tools and help you determine what aids might be best suitable for your specific situation. 

You avoid social situations that require ongoing communication.

If you’ve ever chosen to just stay home instead of having dinner with a friend because it’s too much work to carry a conversation or skipped the theatre tickets because you’re worried you won’t be able to hear the dialogue, it might be time to see a HIS. Finding the proper treatment for even mild hearing loss can be a major confidence booster and prevent seniors from social isolation or even depression caused by a lack of interaction with others. 

You have temporary or chronic tinnitus.

If you’ve had ringing or buzzing in your ears, you might be one of the millions of Americans experiencing tinnitus. In this often temporary condition, a person has a perception of sound with no external source. A HIS can help present various treatment options to alleviate tinnitus, including hearing aids with masking, lifestyle modifications, sound therapy, or earwax removal. 

If you’re experiencing any of the above or just feel that your hearing could be improved, it’s essential to reach out to a hearing instrument specialist and get evaluated. In addition, untreated hearing loss can result in various other health-related issues, so the sooner you can seek help, the better you’ll feel.