The Hearing Specialists at Broward Sinus Doctors offer complete and comprehensive audiologic evaluations in a calibrated sound proof booth. The hearing evaluation, in combination with other audiologic subtests, provides evidence regarding how the outer, middle and inner ear functions. The results of the audiologic evaluation will determine the type and degree of hearing loss. When this is accomplished, our Hearing Specialists can recommend the most appropriate treatment option. If a detected hearing loss cannot be corrected medically, the most appropriate treatment option is often hearing aids . The goal is to enhance quality of life through better hearing.
Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and the conduction bones, by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal.
Acoustic Reflex Testing
Acoustic reflex testing is part of the comprehensive audiologic evaluation. A series of loud tones are presented in each ear in order to measure the acoustic reflex pathway. Together with tympanometry, acoustic reflex responses aid in differential diagnosis of a hearing or balance disorder.
Otoacoustic emissions, or OAE’s, are an objective test of the function of the outer hair cells in the inner ear. They are a part of the comprehensive audiologic evaluation and aid in evaluating inner ear health.
Auditory Brainstem Response
Auditory brainstem response (ABR) is a neurologic test of auditory brainstem function in response to auditory (click) stimuli. The Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test is a helpful tool in determining ability to hear. The test uses a special computer to measure the way the hearing nerve responds to different sounds. Three to four small stickers called “electrodes” will be placed on your head and in front of your ears and connected to a computer. As sounds are made through the earphones, -the electrodes measure how your hearing nerves respond to them.
The audiologist looks for certain neurological “markers” as your hearing nerves respond to sounds. The softest intensity or loudness level at which these markers appear roughly corresponds to the hearing level in that frequency range or pitch. By reading a computer printout of your responses and interpreting these markers, the audiologist can tell if you have a hearing problem. This test is often completed on patients who have the inability to complete a behavioral audiologic evaluation.
Dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness, and balance problems are common, with a high proportion of the population being affected by one or both at some time in their lives. Although these problems are more likely to occur in the elderly, disorders of the inner ear can occur at any age.
Videonystagmography (VNG) evaluates the function of the vestibular portion of the inner ear for patients who are experiencing symptoms of vertigo, unsteadiness, dizziness and other balance disorders. Hearing evaluation tests are frequently combined with vestibular studies for the identification of inner ear disorders.
A VNG is a collection of subtests that use the measurement of involuntary eye movements to diagnose certain balance or dizziness disorders. The test uses a special set of goggles that measures the eye movements of a patient when certain stimuli are applied. Once the series of tests using the goggles has been completed, the cause of the disorder can be determined
The subtests of a VNG include
Ocular motility testing- The patient will be asked to execute certain eye movements, such as to move them smoothly and slowly or to quickly jump from one place to another. The patient will also be asked to follow a target with his or her eyes as it maneuvers in specific patterns at specific rates of speed. By measuring the eye movements in this way, the clinician can determine if the nerves and brain are operating properly.
Positional Testing- During this test, the patient’s head will be moved into different positions while involuntary eye movements are measured with the goggles. While the head is being moved, any abnormal eye movement will help determine the cause of symptoms.
Caloric Testing- During this test, warm and cool air will be introduced into each ear. The airflow stimulates the vestibular system in each ear and the responses are measured in the patient’s eyes via goggles. This test measures the symmetry of responses of the vestibular system in each ear and in turn can help determine the cause of symptoms.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
The VEMP is a test of the saccule, a peripheral balance organ in the inner ear. The saccule’s function is to relay information about linear acceleration in a vertical plane such as jumping up and down. This contrasts with the information regarding rotational acceleration supplied by lateral semi-circular canal (tested by calorics).
VEMP is a useful tool when used for differential diagnosis, in that the results are entirely objective and not affected by the patient’s state of relaxation, anxiety or co-operation. It yields unique information about another part of vestibular system and confirms that the lower balance nerve is working whereas caloric testing assesses the upper balance nerve. Testing involves the presentation of loud sounds into the ear which makes the saccule vibrate. Testing does not induce any sensations of dizziness and the patient will not be aware of any reaction from their neck.