Diagnosis begins with medical and hearing exams. A hearing loss may mean that you have a medical problem. The medical exam may be done by one of our attending Otolaryngologists (Ear Nose and Throat Physicians). An exam of your ears, nose, and throat is needed to rule out any infection, injury, or other problem. Certain ear conditions can be treated or corrected with medications or surgery; therefore you may or may not need a hearing aid. You will then be seen by one of our audiologists or technicians who may use several tests to find which tones you can and cannot hear. This 30-minute test is given in a soundproof booth using electronic equipment. This test is not painful or difficult. You will be asked to signal when you hear tones come through headphones. Other tests will show if you know the difference between words that sound alike, such as fin, tin, and pin. These tests will show which sounds your hearing aid will need to amplify for you. Other tests will be used to measure how well the eardrum is working, to check for fluid in the middle ear, or to diagnose other conditions.
Ask your Audiologist
Ten things to discuss with your audiologist during the hearing evaluation:
- Make sure that you understand the type and degree of your hearing loss and how it affects your speech understanding.
- Are there limitations to hearing aid technology, specifically based on your type of hearing loss?
- What are realistic expectations should you have regarding your hearing aids?
- What style hearing aids are available that fit both your preferences and the recommended style for your hearing loss?
- What is the cost of the hearing aids and what services and warranties are included in the cost?
- Carefully discuss your communication difficulties in specific sound environments. The more information your audiologist has, the better they can recommend a level of technology and certain hearing aid features.
- Make sure that you understand about batteries for the hearing aid. What size are they? Where can I get them? How long will they last? How much do they cost?
- Discuss any visual or dexterity problems you may have.
- Discuss what it will be like to adapt to wearing hearing aids and how many follow-up visits there should be.
- Is there a trial period and what is the return policy at the end of the trial period?
Dizziness & Balance Testing
Diagnosing dizziness is a process that usually involves several tests. It starts with a detailed medical history and physical examination. Specific information describing your symptoms helps in determining the final diagnosis.
The first test is usually a hearing evaluation to determine if the inner ear has been affected in any way. Another test is Electronystagmography, ENG for short. ENG is most often used for determining inner ear vestibular function. The ENG is a series of non-invasive computerized tests to evaluate how your balance system functions. The entire test may take up to one and a half hours.
Balance Treatment & Rehabilitation
Once a diagnosis is determined, a range of tailored treatments have been proven safe and effective in controlling most of the disorders underlying dizziness. Some conditions can be controlled with medication; others with diet and some require surgical intervention. More recently, physical therapy and exercise have been added to the treatment options for dizziness. Our on-site physical therapist specializes in Balance Rehabilitation.
Auditory Brainstem Response Evaluations
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test measures the speed of electrical impulses traveling along the acoustic nerve from the inner ear to the brain. Delayed nerve conduction may be due to an acoustic neuroma. Once a diagnosis is determined, a range of tailored treatments have been proven safe and effective in controlling most of the disorders underlying dizziness. Some conditions can be controlled with medication; others with diet and some require surgical intervention. More recently, physical therapy and exercise have been added to the treatment options for dizziness. Our on-site physical therapist specializes in Balance Rehabilitation.
Follow-up for Newborn Hearing Screening
As now mandated by the most states including the state of Pennsylvania, newborns must have a hearing screening at birth. Infants who fail the first time should receive a complete evaluation to ensure normal language development. A 20-minute Otoacoustic Emissions Tests evaluates an infants inner ear and detects a problem if there is one.