Hearing Evaluations

adult ent audiology doctors

Our Audiology Department provides a comprehensive battery of hearing evaluations and testing services for adults and children. Following is a brief description of some of these services:

Audiometry
This is a comprehensive hearing test. During an audiometric evaluation, the patient is placed in a sound-treated room and is asked to respond to different tones and speech. Adults are tested by using earphones inserted into the ear canals or headphones over the ears. Next a bone oscillator is used to test the response from the inner ear organ, the cochlea, by bypassing the ear canals and ear drums. These test results are complied into a graph called an audiogram. The audiogram displays the patient’s hearing thresholds across a range of frequencies which helps the physician and audiologist diagnose and treat medical conditions.This test determines the type and degree of a patient's hearing loss. An audiologist combines this information along with additional factors, such as the patient's lifestyle and speech understanding ability, to make recommendations for hearing aids.

Impedance Testing
This test includes a tympanogram, which measures the movement of the eardrum and the pressure in the middle ear. It can also evaluate the contraction of the middle ear muscles (called the acoustic reflex). This test provides audiologist and physicians with information about the movement of the bones in the middle ear (the ossicles) and the function of cranial nerves. Impedance testing is useful in the diagnosis of middle ear disorders that affect both children and adults. These disorders include otitis media (fluid in the ears), perforated eardrums, eustachian tube dysfunction, and otosclerosis (abnormal bone growth that blocks sound waves).

Otoacoustic Emissions Test (OAE) 
Otoacoustic emissions are sounds produced by healthy ears in response to acoustic stimulation. The OAE test is a computerized procedure that measures the inner ear’s response to different frequencies. During this test, the tip of a soft probe is inserted into the ear canal. The probe contains a speaker which makes a clicking noise, and a microphone which measures responses that are produced from the inner ear. The resulting OAEs are digitized and processed by specially designed hardware and software.  The OAE test can also detect damage to the outer haircells before hearing loss is evident. However, OAEs only provide information about the activity of the cochlea, and do not assess the status of the auditory pathway, which is tested by the auditory brainstem response (ABR).

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) 

For information about hearing testing in infants and children please click here.