University of Vermont

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

audiology_services.html

The Eleanor M. Luse Center for Communication:
Speech, Language and Hearing

Audiological evaluations

The Eleanor M. Luse Center offers a full range of behavioral and objective hearing tests for children and adults. These tests describe the individual's hearing ability and how reduced hearing may be affecting functional communication. When testing is complete, results are discussed with the individual and family and recommendations are made as are appropriate, including a plan for next steps. Reports are sent to the individual tested and other appropriate recipients (e.g., referring physician). A significant amount of time at the end of each appointment is spent counseling the individual/family to ensure they understand the test results and recommendations. We feel that the additional time we are able to spend with individuals and families results in a more successful final outcome for the individual with hearing loss.

Auditory processing disorder screenings

This Center utilizes a unique model to help referral sources screen for the presence of an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).  First, a comprehensive audiological evaluation is conducted to assess hearing levels and auditory structures, confirming normal hearing and auditory function.  Then, specific screening tests of auditory processing are conducted along with record reviews of psycho-educational and speech and language evaluation reports that have been forwarded to this Center.  The effects of attention, memory, phonological abilities and language are also considered and screened as part of this process.  This screening model provides referral sources and school teams with valuable information to identify those children who may need more in-depth assessment.  If the screening conducted at our Center indicates that an APD is likely present, a recommendation for a complete diagnostic evaluation will be made with appropriate referrals to outside facilities that conduct this testing (this Center does not conduct the full diagnostic evaluations). 

Hearing aid evaluation and selection

Consultation for children and adults is available to determine candidacy for hearing aids. Specific makes and models are recommended based on test results and assessment of patient communication needs. We go beyond the typical use of the hearing test alone to make our recommendation(s). It's our philosophy that a good understanding of the individual's hearing loss and his or her listening needs and lifestyle are an important part of all assessments. We gather this information through an informal assessment during the consultation. This includes a thorough review of patient communication status, psychological/social/vocational and education variables, related personal factors, and environmental factors. Hearing aids may be purchased through the Eleanor M. Luse Center for Communication; however, if you meet eligibility requirements for state financial assistance, contacts to follow up on this assistance will be provided. After you are fitted with hearing aids, you have a 45 day trial period (as required by state law) to determine if the hearing aids meet your needs/expectations. During that trial period, you will have several follow-up appointments with your audiologist to verify and validate an appropriate evidence based fitting. Adjustments to hearing aid use are included as part of our regular follow-up.

Hearing support for adults

Adjustment to hearing loss can be difficult, particularly after a hearing aid fitting when the world seems so loud and new. Being fitted with hearing aids does not make one's hearing 'normal' again but rather provides auditory access to speech sounds previously not heard. Because the brain needs time to re-learn how to hear sounds again, you should expect a period of time (potentially several weeks) to adjust to the amplification. This adjustment can be supported via the assistance of our clinical team and our services which include training in the use of hearing aids and ways to communicate more effectively with others. Contact one of our audiologists or audiology assistants for more details.

Objective Assessment (verification) and Subjective Assessment (validation) of Hearing Aid Fittings

Verification and validation are important components of assessing the appropriateness of your new hearing aid fitting. Our clinical setting has the equipment and tools to objectively and subjectively program your newly fitted hearing aids to the levels recommended by established research in the field, while also meeting your pre-determined listening needs.

Objective assessment of a hearing aid fitting is done via real ear measures and also by evaluation of the hearing aids in our sound treated audiometric booths. Probe microphone measures allow us to fully customize the amplification your hearing aids by taking into consideration both your hearing levels and the acoustics of your individual ear canal shape and size. Sound field measures include tests of speech understanding comparing your ability to perceive speech at a conversational level with and without the hearing aids. This test in both quiet and noise conditions provides a measure of functional ability. Improvement scores will be shared with you as part of the follow up process.

Subjective assessment (or measures of how much benefit you perceive from the amplification) is another critical component to a successful hearing aid fitting. In our clinic, we typically use the Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI) scale which assesses how well the fitting has met your previously described listening needs and goals. We also may use the Satisfaction with Daily Amplification in Daily Life (SADL) scale which compares your satisfaction to that of other users of hearing aids. Both of the previously described scales are reliable and valid measures of perceived benefit, supported by research. Inclusion of such scales to assess treatment effectiveness in a hearing aid fitting is now considered the 'gold-standard' of care.

Just as the verification tests we conduct provide objective data, the subjective assessment tools we utilize provide important measures and data on your perception of the hearing aid specific to your needs. Collection of this outcome data provides a comprehensive assessment of the success of the hearing aid fitting before the trial period ends so you can make an educated decision on whether the hearing aids were the right choice for you. Research has demonstrated that these specific objective and subjective methods of evaluating hearing aid function are effective and an important component to a 'best practice' fitting. These methods are used routinely by our audiologists ensuring you receive the best hearing health care.

A successful hearing aid fitting with a high level of perceived benefit is our primary goal and we believe our fitting philosophy lends itself to that end. If we don't feel you have the best fitting you could have before your 45 day trial period ends, we will tell you and provide you with alternative options to consider.

Assistive listening and alerting devices

Hearing aids sometimes cannot fully meet your listening needs across all listening environments. Our clinic can provide you with additional information on Bluetooth wireless systems to be used in conjunction with your personal amplification, frequency modulated (FM) systems, and/or induction loop systems. Additional assistive listening device options, such as infrared systems which may or may not be used with hearing aids, can also be discussed. Don't know what these devices are? Contact our center for more information and details to see what might be most helpful to you. Also, information regarding other listening and alerting systems is available on request and/or need.


Last modified December 11 2012 08:19 AM