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Audiology/Hearing Aids

Communication is a very important part of our everyday life. Don't let hearing loss keep you from enjoying life to its fullest. We have many solutions; one is right for you.

Hearing Evaluation

An elderly couple looks at a laptop

When you come to the Audiology & Hearing Aid Center of Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery, you will meet with an Audiology staff member who will evaluate your hearing. A comprehensive hearing test is performed to determine not only your ability to hear and understand speech, but also to determine your ability to hear different frequencies or pitches. If the hearing test shows that you have hearing loss or if you are experiencing significant communication problems in work, home, and social environments; you are considered a potential candidate for hearing aids.

Together we will determine specific needs that must be satisfied for the hearing aid fitting to be successful for you and establish reasonable goals for the hearing aid fitting.

The Audiology staff and physicians at Eastern Carolina ENT Head & Neck Surgery work together on a day-to-day basis to provide high quality, complete hearing care.

An audiologist has a graduate degree, has completed a clinical internship and passed a comprehensive national standardized examination. Audiologists are certified by the American Speech Language and Hearing Association and are licensed by the state of North Carolina.

Our Audiology staff can provide the following services:

  • Comprehensive hearing evaluations for patients of all ages.
  • Selection, fitting and dispensing of hearing aids and other assistive listening devices.
  • Patient and family counseling about living with hearing loss.
  • Hearing conservation programs to help prevent hearing loss.

Our Audiology Department at Eastern Carolina Ear, Nose and Throat Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. has qualified and experienced audiologists who are happy to speak with you about your hearing needs and questions.

 

When Should A Physician Be Involved?

Dr. Brodish, Dr. Lindbeck, Dr. Albernaz, Dr. Camnitz, Dr. Brechtelsbauer, Dr. Workman

We recommend that a physician be involved in the care of your hearing, however you do have the option to decline a medical evaluation. At the Audiology and Hearing Aid Center of Eastern Carolina ENT, we offer this access to comprehensive care of your ears.

Our center provides the option of a complete hearing and ear check-up, which involves testing by an audiologist and a medical examination of your ears all under the same roof. This allows the audiologist and physician to work together to care for you or your loved one.

To learn more about the physicians or available services at Eastern Carolina ENT, click here.

 

Hearing Aid Styles

Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC)

CIC Aid

A custom-made instrument that fits down deep into the ear canal and is the least visible of all the hearing aid styles

In-The-Canal (ITC)

ITC Aid

A custom-made instrument that fits within the ear canal.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

ITE Aid

A custom-made instrument that fits entirely in the ear.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

BTE Aid

The component of the hearing aid is housed in a small case fitting over the ear. The hearing aid is held in place by a custom earmold. A thin clear tube goes from the hearing aid behind the ear into the ear canal.

Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC)

RIC Aid

This hearing aid keeps the ear from feeling plugged up. Most of the components of the hearing aid are housed in a small case fitting over the ear; while the receiver (loudspeaker) is located in a disposable tip seated in the ear canal.

Manufacturers' Sites

 

Selecting the Right Hearing Aid For You

An elderly couple at the beach

Hearing aid technology has changed radically. Hearing aids have evolved from very simple analog type amplifiers to the newest digital Photo of various hearing aids hearing aids, which are able to assess listening environments by adjusting the loudness of the aid according to the listening situation. We always strive to stay on the "cutting edge of technology" in selecting hearing aid manufacturers who provide technologically advanced circuitry in a wide variety of sizes and features. Programmable hearing aids allow the audiologist and the patient to work together to shape the sound of the hearing aid to meet the needs of each patient. Our practice offers hearing aids from different manufacturers so that each patient has access to the wide variety of options available.

If I have hearing loss in both ears, should I wear one hearing aid or two?

Generally, we recommend two hearing aids if there is hearing loss in both ears. Wearing hearing aids in both ears helps provide understanding of speech in a noisy environment, such as a group of people. Amplifying the sounds in both ears makes it easier to distinguish the direction of a sound (localization). Localization can be important for safety, as in hearing the direction of an oncoming car. Hearing from both ears creates a more natural and less stressful hearing experience.

What is a digital hearing aid and what are the advantages of a digital hearing aid?

Digital hearing aids have a small computer inside. This tiny computer processes the sound and can do many things, such as reducing background noise and adjusting the high and low pitches for your particular hearing loss. This computer technology allows the hearing aid to reproduce a much higher quality sound than previous technology. Digital hearing aids are also programmed via computer software.

What do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids vary in price due to different levels of technology and attached warranties. The initial cost includes a repair warranty, accidental loss or damage insurance, counseling, maintenance, modifications, and adjustments during the warranty period. Patients should be careful buying "bargain" hearing aids. The Audiology and Hearing Aid Center at Eastern Carolina ENT offer hearing aids of advanced technology and professional services.

 

Signs of Hearing Loss

An elderly man laughs with his family

For adults, signs of a hearing loss typically include:

  • You frequently complain that people mumble, speech is not clear, or you hear only parts of conversations when people are talking.
  • You often ask people to repeat what they said.
  • Your friends or relatives tell you that you don't seem to hear very well.
  • You do not laugh at jokes because you miss too much of the story.
  • You need to ask others about the details of a meeting that you just attended.
  • Others say that you play the TV or radio too loudly.
  • You cannot hear the doorbell or the telephone.
  • You find that looking at people when they talk to you makes it somewhat easier to understand, especially when you're in a noisy place or situations with competing conversations.
  • For young children, signs of hearing loss are often difficult to detect. If you suspect that your child is not responding well to sound, language development is delayed, or that speech is unclear, seek the services of an audiologist. Children's hearing can be tested even as a newborn or infant.

If any of these symptoms occur more than occasionally, you should consult an audiologist, the hearing care professional who can evaluate your hearing and recommend an appropriate course of action.

This information from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

 

How We Hear

Cross section diagram of an ear

There are three main parts of the ear:

  • The outer ear includes the pinna and the ear canal.
  • The middle ear includes the eardrum and the three ossicles (bones) commonly called the hammer, anvil and the stirrup suspended in an air-filled cavity.
  • The inner ear or cochlea includes the nerve endings that allow us to hear and the organ of balance.

Sound is collected by the pinna and travels through the ear canal. The sound strikes the eardrum and causes it to vibrate. The vibrating eardrum causes the bones (ossicles) to vibrate and sends the sound through the middle ear to the inner ear. At this point, sound is converted to an electrical impulse and the movement causes fluid to move over tiny hair cells (or nerve endings) in the inner ear. This electrical impulse travels along the hearing nerve to the brain.

 

Children's Hearing

A child eagerly raises her hand in class

Birth - 3 Months

  • Startles to loud sounds
  • Quiets or smiles when spoken to.
  • Seems to recognize your voice and quiets if crying.
  • Increases or decreases sucking behavior in response to sound.

4 - 6 Months

  • Moves eyes in direction of sounds.
  • Responds to changes in tone of your voice.
  • Notices toys that make sounds.
  • Pays attention to music.

7 Months - 1 Year

  • Enjoys games like peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake
  • Turns and looks in direction of sounds.
  • Listens when spoken to.
  • Recognizes words for common items like "cup", "shoe", "juice".
  • Begins to respond to requests ("Come here", "Want more?").

1-2 Years

  • Points to a few body parts when asked.
  • Follows simple commands and understands simple questions ("Roll the ball","Kiss the baby", "Where's your shoe?")
  • Listens to simple stories, songs, and rhymes.
  • Points to pictures in a book when named.

2-3 Years

  • Understands differences in meaning ("go-stop", "in-on", "big-little", "up-down").
  • Follows two requests ("Get the book and put it on the table").

3-4 Years

  • Hears you when you call from another room.
  • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members.
  • Answers simple "who?", "what?", "where?","why?" questions

4-5 Years

  • Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it.
  • Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.

Note: Every child is unique and has an individual rate of development. This chart represents, on average, the age by which most children will accomplish the listed skills. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range. Just because your child has not accomplished one skill within an age range does not mean the child has a disorder. However, if you have answered no to the majority of items in an age range, seek the advice of an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist.

This chart is from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

 

The Audiology Team

Physician, Director
P. Bradley Brechtelsbauer, MD

Audiologists

Nan Taylor

Nan Taylor

Masters of Science, Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology

Nan received both her Bachelor of Science in Speech and Masters of Science in Speech, Language and Auditory Pathology from East Carolina University.

She is licensed through the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists as well as the North Carolina Hearing Aid Dealers and Fitters Board. She is also certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology; CCC-A)