Diagnostic Services & Testing
Pediatric and Adult Hearing Evaluations
Tympanometry assists in the detection of fluid in the middle ear, perforation of the eardrum, or wax blocking the ear canal. Tympanometry pushes air pressure into the ear canal, making the eardrum move measuring the mobility of the eardrum. Graphs are created, called tympanograms. These can reveal a stiff eardrum, a hole in the eardrum, or an eardrum that moves too much.
- Speech Testing
The audiologist Vvill also conduct tests of listening and speech. These results are also recorded on the audiogram. The speech reception threshold (SRT) is used with older children and adults, and helps to confirm the pure tone test results. The audiologist will also record word recognition or the ability to correctly repeat back words at a comfortable loudness level. Speech testing may also be done in a noisy environment.
- Pure Tone Testing
A pure-tone air conduction hearing test determines the faintest tones a person can hear at selected pitches (frequencies). During this test, earphones are worn so that information can be obtained for each ear. A bone conductor headband is also frequently worn to obtain information about where the hearing nerve is responding. Sometimes, use of earphones for the test is not possible, such as when a child refuses to wear them. In these cases, sounds are presented through speakers inside a sound booth (called sound-field screening).
- Acoustic Reflex Measures
Acoustic Reflex Measures add information about the possible location of the hearing problem. Everyone has an acoustic reflex to sounds. A tiny muscle in the middle ear contracts when a loud sound occurs. The loudness level at which the acoustic ret1ex occurs-or the absence of the acoustic reflex-gives information to the audiologist about the type of hearing loss.
Newborn Screening Using Otoactoustic Emissions
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
A non-invasive test that measures an acoustic response generated by the inner ear in response to sound. A screening version of this test is commonly used to test newborn babies.
The peripheral auditory system can be measured using Otoacoustic Emissions, commonly called OAE. Specifically, this tests the integrity of the hair cells in the cochlea by measuring very soft sounds, called OAEs, that the inner ear sends out in response to sounds presented to the ears. For this test, a flexible probe is placed into the ear canal and soft tones or clicks are presented. This is an objective test that does not require a response from the patient, but does require them to be quiet and generally takes less than 5 minutes per ear. The information gained from OAEs is very useful in several ways. It is often used to screen hearing in neonates, infants, or individuals with developmental disabilities who are unable to respond behaviorally. OAEs can also be used when needed to partially estimate hearing sensitivity within a certain range, differentiate between the sensory and neural components of sensorineural hearing loss, as well as in tinnitus and noise exposure evaluations.
Screening for Auditory Processing Disorder (SCAN)
A test of hearing processing designed to identify children or adults who are in need of further testing to diagnose a possible auditory processing disorder. Auditory processing disorder (APD) is defined as any disorder in the way sound is processed in the brain.
Used to test the function of the vestibular (balance) system. Infrared goggles are placed on a patient’s head and eye movements are monitored and recorded throughout a series of tests. These tests are non-invasive and painless.