Audiology and Hearing Aids
We offer state of the art hearing testing and a variety of hearing aid options to suit specific patient populations.
What is Audiology?
Audiology is the branch of medicine and science that studies and manages our sense of hearing. At Mt. Scott ENT, our Audiology Department is staffed with well-trained audiologists who work closely with our physicians to provide the full range of diagnostic testing and hearing aid options for both adults and children.
Our audiologists evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage a variety of hearing and balance disorders and all hold either a Master’s or Doctoral degree in audiology. Those with symptoms of impaired hearing, ringing in the ears, dizziness or constant ear pressure, will often see one of our audiologists for testing to better identify the source of their issues.
Our audiology services include:
Pure tone audiometry
Pure tone audiometry looks for the softest audible sound an individual can hear at each frequency. During the test, you are asked to respond each time you hear a beep or tone until you no longer hear anything. The beeps or tones are given at different frequencies (or pitches) and levels of volume. The lowest one heard is documented to help determine the degree of hearing loss and the appropriate treatment if necessary.
The purpose of speech testing is to discover how well an individual is able to understand what is spoken to them. This test involves having the patient repeat back a list of words that are read out to them. The volume of the words spoken is at a comfortable, average level. The number of words repeated correctly is documented. If words sound distorted or are heard but not understood, this too is documented as damage to the hearing nerve may be compromised and further investigation will be warranted.
Tympanometry examines how well the eardrum and middle ear are functioning. This test is often performed to check for fluid behind the eardrum and perforations in the eardrum. For those who have had ear tubes placed, tympanometry can help indicate whether or not the tubes are open and functioning properly. For those with hearing loss, tympanometry is helpful in determining whether or not the hearing loss is conductive (stemming from structural blockage) or sensorineural (originating more in the inner ear or the nerves that transfer sound signals to the brain).
Custom ear plugs
No two ears are exactly the same, not even your two ears! Therefore, generic, one-size-fits-all earplugs simply do not work for everyone (if anyone!) To really protect and care for your ears, you need earplugs that are customized specifically for you. Earplugs that do not fit correctly cannot only let harmful particles and sounds into your ear, but they can irritate the ear canal causing infection and pain. Earplugs that do not dry easily can also harbor bacteria, fungi, and other harmful particles. Here at Mt. Scott ENT, we take the time to carefully individualize earplugs to fit each of your ears perfectly for optimal fit and protection. Examples of custom earplugs can include not only plugs for swimming and hearing protection but musicians’ plugs and those for music or other listening devices such as your phone.
The audiology center at Mt. Scott ENT is also well equipped to provide testing and fitting for a wide range of hearing aids. We are committed to providing an individualized approach for each of our patients and only recommend hearing aids or other assistive listening devices that best suit their budget, lifestyle and of course, type of hearing loss. We have a wide variety of styles and technology to choose from. Our goal is to find the right device that will restore and enhance our patients’ hearing and quality of life.
As mentioned above, hearing aids come in a variety of styles and have a wide range of functionality. Most hearing aids consist of a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver/speaker, and a small microchip or computer chip. Sounds are collected by the microphones and sent to the microchip. The microchip can then reduce background noise and enhance the frequencies in order to improve one’s hearing. The sound is then amplified further and sent to the ear through the speaker/receiver. Once our audiologists have evaluated your hearing and determined the best type of device for you, you will likely have several styles and sizes to choose from.
After you’ve chosen a style, our audiologists can help you decide what features would best suit your lifestyle and meet your overall hearing needs. Advanced features vary depending on the technology level of the hearing aid and can range from basic amplification to complex signal processing and state-of-the-art sound quality. Costs are typically dependent on the level of functionality and technology you choose.
Our audiologists are equipped and committed to providing the right solution for you. Call our Audiology Department today to schedule your appointment for an evaluation.