Diagnostic Hearing Evaluations (to assess the type and degree of hearing loss)
What to expect.
The audiologist will test your hearing through a diagnostic evaluation. During this appointment, the audiologist will examine the health of the ear canal, determine what type and degree of hearing loss (if present) and recommend different options for treatment. You will sit in a sound treated booth and wear headphones for measuring your hearing levels and speech understanding abilities. Other tests may be completed to further assess your hearing system such as Tympanometry and Otoacoustic Emissions.
Types of hearing loss.
Three types of hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common for adults. This is referred to as “nerve” loss with damage inside the cochlea (hearing organ) or along the neural pathway. This hearing loss can be assisted by use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. The second type of hearing loss is called conductive and the third type is mixed hearing loss which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive. We would refer you to a specialist for medical treatment for conductive and mixed hearing losses (medications or surgical options).
Tinnitus Management (evaluation, counseling, masking devices and sound therapy)
What to expect.
Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Some of the more common sounds reported are: ringing, humming, buzzing, and cricket-like. Initially, you will complete a diagnostic hearing evaluation. Next, tinnitus will be assessed and measured when possible. You will be asked to match the pitch and volume of your tinnitus. Once matched, we can then determine if masking would allow for inhibition. Inhibition is something that restrains, blocks or suppresses. Tinnitus test results will be discussed and determine if treatment will be completed through audiology or through another specialty (primary care physician, Neurologist, Cardiologist, Otolaryngologist, Psychiatrist).
Masking Devices & Sound Therapy. There are numerous options on the market for tinnitus management.
Hearing Aids. The most common form of tinnitus is related to hearing loss or cochlear damage. In a recent study, it was concluded that wearing hearing aids may lessen the perception of your tinnitus. “Two out of three people experienced tinnitus relief most of the time to all of the time, while three out of ten (29%) reported the use of hearing aids alleviated their tinnitus all of the time.”* Most hearing aids also have tinnitus management which can be programmed to your needs. Examples are narrowband noise, white noise, pink noise, chimes, or outdoor sounds.
Masking Devices. You can try sound soothing devices found in your local electronics department. These devices produce sounds such as: waves crashing on the shoreline, rain in the rain forest, birds chirping in the morning time, etc which are helpful for distracting and reducing stress levels caused by tinnitus.
SoundCure Serenade. We do provide this device in our office. To find out more information please visit https://www.soundcure.com/.
Neuromonics. While this is an option for tinnitus therapy, we currently do not work with the Neuromonics devices.
Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. We are currently not offering TRT in our practice.
The audiologist will test your child’s hearing through wearing headphones (if tolerated) or speakers in a sound booth. Depending on the age and abilities of your child, one or two audiologist(s) may complete the diagnostic hearing evaluation.
Types of hearing loss.
Three types of hearing loss. The most common type in the childhood population is conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can be treated medically most of the time. We would refer your child to a specialist for medical treatment (medications or surgical options). The second type is a sensorineural hearing loss. This is referred to as “nerve” loss with damage inside the cochlea (hearing organ) or along the neural pathway. This hearing loss can be assisted by use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Mixed hearing loss is the last type of hearing loss which is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Your child will be referred to an ENT for treatment of the conductive component and then would return to our practice for fitting of hearing aids for the sensorineural hearing loss.
This evaluation is only for those patients whose hearing aids are no longer providing enough benefits for everyday communication.
This appointment includes: Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation, verification of current hearing aid prescription and speech testing in quiet and in noise with and without hearing aids (demo hearing aids will be used if needed for testing purposes only).
Once testing is completed, the audiologist will determine if you are a cochlear implant candidate.
We work with all three manufacturers for cochlear implant devices: Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Americas, and MedEl.
Otoacoustic Emissions are sounds given off by the inner ear when the cochlea is stimulated by a sound. This test is completed when hearing testing cannot be performed or to determine the status of cochlear function.
Your doctor should rule out other conditions that may be causing your vertigo, imbalance, lightheadedness, or dizziness such as blood pressure, medications, heart/vascular conditions, etc. We do not test general balance which is typically tested by a physical therapist.
What to expect.
This test takes about 2-3 hours. You will be wearing goggles, moving into different positions, and water of different temperatures will be placed into the ear canals. Testing will allow the audiologist to better determine the cause of your vertigo (true spinning) or dizziness.
Treatment Options. We can treat certain types of vertigo. However, you will be referred to another specialist (Neurologist, Cardiologist, Otolaryngologist or Physical Therapist) for treatment if needed.
Lifestyle. Your lifestyle is very important when choosing the right hearing aid. You need to determine, along with your audiologist, what environments are most affected by your hearing loss.
Three Types of Lifestyles.
Quiet. You spend most of your days in a quiet environment. Your communication is limited between 1-2 other people in a quiet room. You may talk on the telephone or watch TV most days.
Moderately Active. Incorporates the quiet lifestyle, but you get out sometimes and encounter busier environments such as the grocery store, the bank or a quieter restaurant (3-4 people sitting around your table).
Active. Involved in many different environments. For instance, you may attend groups or crowded events, go to busy restaurants, or have hearing difficulties in noise.
Styles of Daily Wear Hearing Aids.
IIC. (invisible in the canal).
CIC. (completely in the canal).
ITC. (in the canal).
HS, FS, or ITE. (half shell, full shell or in the ear).
BTE. (behind the ear).
RIC, RITE, RIE. (receiver in the canal, receiver in the ear, receiver in ear).
Extended Wear Hearing Aid.
Phonak Lyric device is an extended wear hearing aid. This device sits deep inside the ear canal and will be replaced by your audiologist every 2 months. The patient does not worry about replacement of batteries, removing, inserting and maintaining the hearing aid. This device is worn when sleeping and showering, but the head cannot be submerged under water.
Budget. Costs of hearing aids are determined by the lifestyle choice (manufacturers refer to this as technology levels). We accept all insurances. To determine if hearing aids are a covered benefit under your plan, please call the office and the front staff will be able to assist.
Manufacturers. We believe in providing choices to our patients by working with all major manufacturers in the hearing industry. Not one company is superior and you and the audiologist will determine what is best for your hearing loss, lifestyle, budget and cosmetic concerns. We have great relationships with the following companies: Phonak, Oticon, ReSound, Siemens, Starkey, Unitron, and Widex.
Mapping. Once you receive your cochlear implant, it will be mapped (term used for programming the device). The initial activation appointment will take a few hours. Interval mapping appointments will be scheduled.
Rehabilitation. We do not have a formal aural rehabilitation program in our practice. However, we will provide you with ways to practice independently, in person with loved ones, on the computer, and over the telephone. The success of your ability to process and understand speech will be in direct correlation with your efforts. Results will vary based on multiple factors before and after implantation.
Local Chapters. There are local meetings and support groups for recipients.
During the initial fitting of your hearing aids, you will be placed in front of a machine called the AudioScan Verifit. This is the only way an Audiologist can determine if your hearing aids have the proper prescription based on the hearing test results and your listening needs. There are also other machines on the market for this type of verification measure.
You will be counseled on proper care and maintenance of your hearing aids. You will leave the office knowing how to insert and remove the hearing aids and replace batteries.
Follow up Care.
You will be scheduled to return to the practice every 1-2 weeks after the initial fitting. This is to determine your success with the hearing aids and determine if further adjustments or support are needed.
Once the fitting process has been completed, we will schedule routine visits for hearing aid cleaning and follow up care.