Hearing and speech impairment can affect anyone, both children and adults. There are many causes for these impairments, whether it's physical, developmental, or from an illness, and there are many ways to get hearing and speech impairment treatments. Patients with serious loss can benefit from myringotomy and removal of the fluid in the middle ear. Ventilation tubes may ultimately be necessary. If the hearing loss continues, amplification with a hearing aid may be needed. Speech therapy is rarely necessary unless the loss is prolonged and cannot be corrected with amplification. The ENT specialist, a cervico-facial surgeon, specializes in treating diseases of the head and neck, particularly those of the ear, nose and throat. ENT specialists can determine whether the hearing problems can be solved by surgery or medication. When the diagnosis indicates that medical treatment or surgery cannot resolve the problem, then the ENT specialist may refer an audioprosthetist or hearing aid specialist. A hearing test provides an evaluation of the sensitivity of a person's sense of hearing and is most often performed by an audiologist using an audiometer. An audiometer is used to determine a person's hearing sensitivity at different frequencies. Speech therapy provides treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing. Speech and language therapists are allied health professionals. They work with parents and other professionals, such as teachers, nurses, occupational therapists and doctors.
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