Diagnostic Services

Adult Assessment

A full Audiological assessment involves looking at the hearing system as a whole.

 

Otoscopy allows us to examine the ear canal and ear drum. It can help identify physical abnormalities which may contribute to a hearing loss. It involves the Audiologist looking into the ear with a light; it is both a safe and comfortable procedure. It assesses the health of the outer portion of the ear.

 

Tympanometry records eardrum movement in response to a change in pressure. It is useful in detecting conditions such as middle ear fluid (glue ear), ear drum perforations and Eustachian tube dysfunction.

 

Acoustic Reflex Testing measures the stapedius and tensor tympani reflex (muscles of the middle ear) in response to loud sound. It can be a useful tool in confirming conductive hearing losses such as otosclerosis.  

 

Pure Tone Audiometry is a hearing assessment which identifies the softest sound you can hear at a range of different frequencies using headphones. A bone vibrator (small band) is then placed behind your ear to determine whether your hearing loss is caused by a problem in the middle ear or inner ear.

 

Children’s Hearing Assessment

Audico offers a range of audiological assessments for infants and children of all ages and developmental levels. Parents who are concerned about their child’s hearing can self-refer and a full report is sent back to the child’s GP. In cases where a hearing impairment is detected onward referral to see an Ear Nose and Throat Consultant will be recommended.

What happens at a Paediatric Appointment?

An examination of the ear (otoscopy) is carried out. It can help identify physical abnormalities, which may contribute to a hearing loss. It involves the Audiologist looking into the child’s ear with a light; it is both a safe and comfortable procedure.

 

Tympanometry records eardrum movement in response to a change in pressure. It is useful in detecting conditions such as middle ear fluid (glue ear), ear drum perforations and Eustachian tube dysfunction. Dependent on the child’s age and developmental ability, their hearing will be tested by one of the below methods. Some children become nervous in a clinic environment or are shy in the presence of strangers. The clinical audiologists will spend quite some time playing with these children to help them settle in and enjoy the listening games.

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) ( < 3 Years)

VRA is a test that examines a child’s behavioural response to sounds presented through speakers or insert earphones. On hearing and turning to the sound the child is rewarded by a dancing toy. Once the child is conditioned for testing, the stimulus is reduced to a faint level and the child’s hearing is checked across pitches of sound necessary to hear.

Performance/Play Audiometry (> 3 Years)

In older children, the child is instructed to place a block in a bucket when they hear a tone. This test may be carried out through a speaker or headphones.

 

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) is a non-invasive, quick test. It usually takes a few minutes to obtain a response from both ears. It is essential that your child is quiet during this test. The test is performed by placing a small probe that contains a microphone and speaker into the patient's ear. Sounds are generated in the probe and responses that come back from the cochlea are recorded. The test is used to determine the health of the hair cells in the cochlea (hearing organ) and is also used in the Newborn Hearing Screening programme.


Tinnitus Assessment

Tinnitus is a term given to the perception of sounds that are not produced by an external source. Tinnitus can be caused by either physical or psychological trauma in addition to hearing loss.

 

Tinnitus Assessment will include the following:

  • Diagnostic evaluation by the audiologist to establish if there is a hearing loss.
  • Matching of the tinnitus to assess its impact on the client’s quality of life.
  • Provision of information on tinnitus management strategies.
  • Onward referral to an Ear,Nose and Throat Consultant if deemed necessary.
  • Information on Cognitive Behavioural Therapist services.
  • Provision of devices to help mask out tinnitus, such as pillow speakers, hearing aids or tinnitus maskers

 

Balance Assessment

The term Vertigo is often used interchangeably with dizziness. Where Vertigo can be described as a false sense of motion, dizziness is a non-specific term used to describe a sense of imbalance.

The main components of the balance system are visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive (e.g. having your feet on the ground tells your body that you are standing upright). The central processing centre (the brain and its neural pathways) is responsible for relaying messages from these components. When there is a disturbance in any of these components or in the central processing centre, dizziness may occur.

What Happens At A Balance Assessment?

The balance test helps to locate the source of the dizziness or vertigo. The main components of the balance assessment are:

Videonystagmography (VNG)

This test is carried out by placing video goggles on the patient. The camera records the eye movements as the patient follows a moving light on the screen. There are various visual tests carried out and the eye movements are examined, recorded and analysed by the audiologist. The VNG assessment can help in the diagnosis of central disorders.

Caloric Test

In conducting this test, both ears are irrigated with both warm and cool air. The audiologist examines the patient’s eye movements during testing using video goggles. The caloric process is useful in detecting a weakness in the vestibular (balance) system.

Following assessment and review of the findings, the audiologist reports back to the referring Consultant and makes recommendations as to rehabilitation as necessary.

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