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Audiologists play an essential role in healthcare: they’re responsible for ensuring that you protect your hearing.

You want an audiologist who not only has the requisite qualifications, but also a range of other qualities that will ensure that you get the best treatment possible.

Here are the top qualities in an audiologist that you should look for when consulting with one.

Calm, composed bedside manner

The topic of hearing loss is not a pleasant one. The last thing you want is an audiologist who is brash, blunt and indifferent to your experience. The best audiologists never lose sight of the fact that they are dealing with real people with genuine feelings, some of which could be unpleasant. Hearing loss isn’t something to be taken lightly, so patients should expect compassion.

A breadth of experience

Quality audiologists have not only the right certification but also a breadth of experience. Although many audiologists insist on specializing in specific ages groups, many of the most accomplished learn from their activities in one field and apply them to another.

Other patients recommend them

Audiologists can say what they like about their own abilities, within the law, so they are incentivized to paint a rosy picture, even if it’s not a reflection of reality. Before visiting an audiologist, ask around to find out what other people have thought about the service they’ve received from their audiologist. Check online reviews too, if available. Were patients impressed by their manner? Did they solve their hearing loss issue? Were they punctual? Were their tests comprehensive?

Excellent problem-solving abilities

The causes of hearing loss are manifold. All sorts of issues, from a buildup of earwax in the ear canal to progressive tinnitus, can cause hearing loss. A quality audiologist will always rigorously investigate the causes of hearing loss so that he or she can provide the best treatment plan possible. High-quality audiologists recognize the patient’s behavior can perpetuate hearing loss, and so they may ask probing questions and then make recommendations based on the information a patient gives.

The ability to communicate clearly

Although people can become audiologists by passing a series of technical exams, these exams do not test their ability to communicate effectively. Clear and concise communication is, however, an essential part of the job. Medical problems can be difficult to communicate verbally. Many hearing problems must be described in abstract terms.

If you leave the audiologist not knowing what to do next, then they have failed in their task to communicate effectively. Seek out audiologists who put problems into language that you can understand and provide clear direction.

People skills

Hearing loss is a difficult thing to accept, even for the most robust personalities. Audiologists, therefore, need to have profound skills of empathy that allow them to insert themselves into their patient’s shoes and see things from their perspective. The best audiologists immediately gain the trust of their patients through a combination of expert advice, empathy, understanding, and manner. Patients should feel special after every visit and believe that their needs have been met.