We are here to provide you with excellent hearing care, and we strive to help you in any way we can. Read below to learn more about the most common services we provide. If there's something you need that you don't see here, please ask us about it! We'll be happy to help.
You will be placed in a sound treated room. Your ear canals will be examined with an otoscope to ensure that they are not blocked by cerumen (earwax) or other debris before testing begins.
Headphones will be placed on your ears and the audiologist will leave the room to complete the testing. You will be able to see the audiologist through a window in the sound booth. You will be asked first to repeat Spondaic Words (baseball, hotdog, for example) that are spoken by the audiologist. This is called Speech Reception Threshold testing or SRT. The volume of the words will gradually get softer until you can no longer hear them. The softest level in decibels (dB) at which you can understand the words is your SRT for that ear.
The next step is to determine how softly you can hear tones, called your Pure Tone Threshold. Pitches from 250Hz (low pitch) to 8000Hz (high pitch) will be tested in octaves. You will be asked to raise your hand or push a button every time you hear the sound. We are again looking for the softest dB level at which you can hear each sound in each ear.
The final step is to determine how well you understand words in each ear at a comfortable loudness level. This is called your Speech Discrimination score. The audiologist will again ask you to repeat words, but the loudness will stay the same throughout the test. The words used are single syllable words from special lists that were developed to contain the sounds that occur in typical everyday speech called Phonetically Balanced Word Lists. You will receive a correct percentage score for each ear.
Tympanometry tests show how well your eardrum moves at different air pressures. You will hear a hum, and with some equipment you will also hear several beeps. There will be a slight pressure change in your ear. This test lasts about 10 seconds per ear. A graph will be displayed to show the movement of your eardrum. This is a routine test that gives the audiologist information about the pressure behind the eardrum and whether the eardrum is moving normally. It is also used to determine if there is a hole in the eardrum, or if a pressure equalization tube (PE tube) is open.
Otoacoustic Emissions Testing is sometimes used to obtain information about the functioning of the hair cells inside the inner ear (cochlea). A soft probe tip is placed in the ear canal and tones are presented at medium volume levels. The computer takes readings of echoes or "emissions" that the hair cells in the cochlea produce in the presence of sound. The test usually takes about 5 minutes and requires the patient just to sit quietly.
We can provide onsite or in-office OSHA compliant hearing testing. Contact our office for further details.
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or other sound that is present in the ears without any external source. Most people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, but for some, the tinnitus persists and becomes a problem. Causes of persistent tinnitus are many: an earwax plug in the canal, an ear infection, hearing loss, noise exposure, tumors of the hearing nerve, drug side effects and many more.
As part of an evaluation for the cause of tinnitus we will provide a complete audiological evaluation to determine the cause of your tinnitus. When hearing loss is present, the use of a hearing aid can usually mask the tinnitus. Many people experience relief not only when they are wearing the hearing aid, but for several hours after they remove it. This enables them to get to sleep without hearing the sound—and then they can use the hearing aid again in the morning when the sound returns.
Patients sometimes have difficulty getting to our office. We offer complete hearing testing and hearing aid services directly at your home or extended care facility. Our audiologist, Dr. Lawless, will travel directly to you to test your hearing and fit hearing aids if needed.
There is a round-trip travel charge for mileage ($.60 per mile) and an in-home or facility consultation fee of $50 payable at the time of your visit. Insurance will not cover these expenses. However, many patients find it less expensive than having family members lose work in order to bring them to the office.
If your family members are unable to be present for the in home appointment, we also offer an additional service which entails using Skype (a video chat platform) during your appointment. This allows your relatives to monitor what is happening during the appointment and ask any questions they may have. This requires either the ability to connect to your home internet or for us to be able to access our AT&T wireless service from your home. It also requires your relative to have internet or wireless access and to have the Skype app on your relative's phone or computer. None of this is required, but is rather offered as an added benefit if desired, and there is no charge for this service.
Finally, you may wish to make sure your ears are clear of earwax before making an appointment for us to test you in your home or extended care facility. We can often remove this at the time of the appointment, but there is an additional charge of $75 if that is needed. Sometimes it is necessary to make several visits to remove earwax before testing can be completed and there will be charges for travel for each visit. Having your family doctor or the nurse at your facility check your ears for wax first can avoid these complications.
You can arrange for these at home services by calling Dr. Lawless at (859) 227-7192.