Our Audiology Services
At Louise Hugo Audiology Practice the initial hearing assessments include a straightforward four-step process.
In our experience, this process yields the most accurate and personally relevant results through a combination of screening and diagnostic hearing tests and a thorough interview, to ensure that we fully understand your lifestyle and your needs. Understanding your concerns and what’s most important to you in a better-hearing solution is one of our most important priorities.
Step One: The Interview
Purpose: To help determine how you are experiencing your hearing loss and/or associated problems, such as tinnitus or a balance disorder. The aim is to uncover any information that might help reveal its cause and to identify if there are any potential risk factors for further damage.
Step Two: The Examination
Purpose: To help determine if the hearing difficulty you are experiencing is being caused by an obstruction or damage to the ear canal or eardrum. A magnifying instrument called an otoscope is used to painlessly inspect the outer ear.
Step Three: The Testing
Purpose: To help determine if a hearing loss is present and the degree and nature of the loss. A basic diagnostic test consists of:
- Immittance to measure how the parts of your middle ear system function while altering the air pressure in the external ear canal.
- Audiometric pure tone evaluation to measure your hearing at different frequencies.
- Speech evaluation to measure how well you hear and understand speech at different volumes.
Other tests that might be included are:
- Acoustic reflex testing – another test of middle ear function.
- Oto acoustic emissions, an evaluation of the functioning of the outer hair cells of the inner ear.
Step Four: Treatment Options
Purpose: To recommend and explain the benefits of suitable solutions (if necessary) for your type and degree of hearing loss and your lifestyle. Options include:
Referral to another medical professional
Should results indicate a possible underlying or associated medical condition referral to another medical professional will be made, typically an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Amplification with hearing aids is the preferred treatment for most types of hearing loss and can provide significant improvements in one’s ability to communicate effectively and without a burdensome degree of effort. Today’s digital hearing aids come in a variety of designs (including invisible-in-the-canal models) with a wide range of functions and features to address an individual’s specific needs.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
ALDs are specialized hearing technologies that help people with all degrees of hearing loss. These devices can facilitate face-to-face communication and improved experience with media such as televisions and telephones adapted to help the hearing impaired.
Surgery & Implants
More severe hearing losses may benefit from devices surgically inserted into the ear to improve audibility of speech and environmental sounds. Typically, these are most helpful for people who are unable to achieve sufficient benefit from traditional hearing aids.
A few examples of surgical implants:
- Bone-Anchored Hearing Systems (typically for severe middle ear problems)
- Cochlear Implants
- Auditory Brainstem Implants
Getting a hearing aid is not the end of the better hearing process, but only the beginning.
First time user
We explain the different types and styles of hearing aids and advise on what will best suit your hearing loss, dexterity and lifestyle. Demonstration products are available at the practice should you wish to “test drive” modern technology first. Hearing aids are fitted and adjusted using in the ear verification equipment and doing aided testing in the soundproof booth. During the follow-up, appointments adjustments are made, if needed, and we make sure you know how to handle and care for your aids. From there we follow-up annually to make sure your hearing does not change and if it does, to adjust your aids accordingly.
Have you been wearing aids for a while, but feel they are no longer make as big a difference as in the beginning? Having your hearing tested and your aids adjusted annually is strongly advised to ensure your hearing aids are still providing the best possible amplification. Changing the dome size or ear mold of your hearing aid might also impact the level of amplification and your hearing aid fitting should then be verified again using in the ear measures.
There has been some very exciting development in hearing aid technology during the past two years. Signia introduced own voice processing (OVP), an algorithm applied to your hearing aid that significantly improves the way you experience your own voice through amplification. Widex offers a product where you are able to “fine tune” your hearing aid for your specific listening preferences in different situations, using an app on your phone. Most companies now offer direct streaming of telephone calls and music to your hearing aids via your iPhone and companies such as Phonak and Unitron (and soon Beltone) via most android phones as well. In the ear hearing aids are smaller than ever, and most companies now have rechargeable options.
Louise Hugo Audiology practice supply and support hearing aids and assistive devices from various suppliers, allowing us to select a personalized solution to fit your needs and budget.
We know the price of hearing aids is often the number one reason why people put off acquiring amplification, even when they will really benefit. For this reason, the practice has registered with financial institutions such as Reconnect Lifestyle and Medifin Finacial Services offering different payment options, as well as hearing aid insurance.
Yes, choosing the correct product and making the financial commitment can be daunting. Allow us to become your trusted advisor and embark on the journey to better hearing with you.
Hearing and ear protection
Noise exposure is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Continues exposure to sounds of 85 dB or louder or a sudden, intense “impulse” sound (such as a gunshot) can cause permanent hearing damage. Fortunately, the noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. If you are unable to reduce the volume of your favorite hobby, such as shooting, motorcycling or woodwork or are exposed to noise at work, custom-made hearing protectors are an effective way to avoid hearing loss or further damage.
At Louise Hugo Audiology practice we supply a variety of hearing protectors, to suit your specific need, with options such as…
- active or passive protection
- soft or hard material
- with or without cords
- various levels of noise reduction filters
Are you prone to ear infections when you swim or do you or a loved one have grommets in your ears? Visit our practice for custom made swim plugs, an effective way to keep your ears dry.
Other creative solutions for your ears include snore plugs. The snoring of your spouse or your neighbour’s music might not be loud enough to cause hearing loss, but enough to keep you up at night. Desperate for a good night’s sleep? Visit our practice.
Tinnitus can have a huge emotional impact on your life. Affecting sleep, concentration and the overall feeling of wellbeing. Tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom with many possible causes, such as;
- Hearing Loss: One of the most common causes. Most people with tinnitus also have some kind of hearing loss.
- Loud Noise: Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Continued exposure can make the tinnitus and hearing loss worse.
- Medication: More than 200 medicines, including aspirin, can cause tinnitus.
- Other potential causes: Allergies, acoustic or vestibular tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaw and neck can cause tinnitus.
If you experience tinnitus it is advisable to start with a hearing evaluation (especially if you also experience dizziness or imbalance). At Louise Hugo Audiology practice the tests and a thorough interview is used to determine possible causes. Should we be concerned that the tinnitus is associated with one or more health conditions referral to the appropriate medical professional will be made. There are a number of different strategies to manage tinnitus, such as amplification, sound enrichment, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The options will be discussed with you and the mechanism of tinnitus (how it starts etc.) will be explained to you. There is no magic pill or quick fix for tinnitus, but with patience and commitment, most people are able to reduce the annoyance and negative effect of the tinnitus on their everyday life.
Hearing Aid Repairs
We know that when your hearing aid isn’t working, you want it fixed with as little delay as possible. When your aids need cleaning or repair you can bring it to our office without having to make an appointment. We can do simple repairs in our office and stock a variety of companies’ domes, slim tubes and wax filters. More severely damaged or malfunctioning hearing aids are sent to the manufacturers for repair. Instruments are sent by courier to ensure that they get back as quickly as possible.
Hearing Tests for Infants and Difficult to Test Patients
Hearing loss is one of the most common birth defects, affecting 1 to 3 out of every 1 000 babies born. Without objective hearing tests it is difficult to detect hearing loss in the first months and years of your baby’s life. Louise Hugo Audiology practice is responsible for new born hearing screening at Montana Hospital and screening is also done at the practice. Screening is done using otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and in high risk babies, also an auditory brainstem response (ABR) evaluation.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)—This test measures sound waves produced in the inner ear in reaction to sound. A tiny probe is placed just inside the baby’s ear canal. It measures the response (“echo”) when clicks or tones are played into the baby’s ears.
- Brainstem Response (ABR)—This test measures how the hearing nerve responds to sound. Clicks or tones are played through soft earphones into the baby’s ears. Three electrodes placed on the baby’s head measure the hearing nerve’s response.
Testing is done while your baby sleeps or is in an awake but quiet state. Babies sometimes fail the screening test due to amniotic fluid that has not drained from the ear canal yet and a follow-up screening will then be recommended. When a baby fails two consecutive screenings (about six weeks apart) a diagnostic ABR will be performed to measure exactly how much hearing loss there is at different frequencies.
Hearing is the gateway to learning for any child and we are passionate about early detection and rehabilitation of hearing loss. If you are at all concerned about your babies hearing, even if they passed a previous test, bring them for a screening test.
Difficult to Test Patients
The same objective tests used to test infants can be used to test children or adults that are not able to perform behavioral testing, where they are expected to press a button or perform a play activity (like stacking blocks) in reaction to sound.
Your Audiology Health Starts Here
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