941-342-9494

About Our Services

We provide a variety of audiological services. Expand on each of the following sections below to learn more about our services offered.

  • Hearing Evaluations
  • Hearing Aid Fitting & Programming
  • Hearing Aid Follow Up
  • Tinnitus Management
  • Hearing Protection
  • Swim Plugs
  • Counseling & Education
Hearing assessment
Elderly woman being fitted for hearing aid
Elderly woman being fitted for hearing aid
What is an audiologist?

An audiologist is a healthcare professional who specializes in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Additionally, they use a variety of tests and techniques to assess and manage hearing and balance problems in individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. Audiologists work in a range of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, and research institutions. Lastly, they often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors), speech-language pathologists, and psychologists, to provide comprehensive care to patients with hearing and balance disorders.

What is a hearing evaluation?

Audiologists perform comprehensive hearing tests to assess the type and degree of hearing loss. The hearing evaluation will give information regarding middle ear status and inner ear status to help determine the cause of the hearing loss. Additionally, it will determine whether medical intervention is necessary.

The following is a list of tests that may be completed during a comprehensive hearing evaluation based on patient history:

1. Air Conduction Testing: measures the overall sensitivity of the entire auditory system, including the ability to hear sounds conducted through the air. Sounds are presented through headphones to the patient’s external ear canal.

2. Bone Conduction Testing: evaluates the sensitivity of the inner ear and the neural pathways. It helps determine whether the hearing loss is conductive (related to issues in the outer or middle ear) or sensorineural (related to inner ear or auditory nerve problems). A bone vibrator or oscillator is placed behind the ear (usually on the mastoid bone) to deliver vibrations directly to the inner ear. 

3. Word Recognition Testing:  helps determine the individual’s ability to understand and discriminate speech in a controlled, clinical setting. A series of monosyllabic recorded words are presented to the patient through headphones. This is especially valuable for individuals with hearing loss.

4. Tympanometry: assesses the function of the middle ear and the mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane). It is a valuable tool for evaluating various ear conditions, particularly those related to the middle ear, such as fluid buildup (effusion) or disorders of the ear’s ventilation system.

5. Otoacoustic Emissions: provides valuable insights into cochlear function and can help identify hearing issues at an early stage, allowing for timely intervention and treatment.

6. Speech-In-Noise Testing: helps determine the impact of hearing loss on an individual’s daily life and communication skills.

How are hearing aids programmed?

Hearing aids are programmed or adjusted to meet the specific hearing needs of an individual.

Programming hearing aids is a highly customized process that typically involves the following steps:

1. Audiological Assessment: Before programming hearing aids, the audiologist conducts a comprehensive audiological evaluation. See above for what is included in a hearing test.

The assessment helps determine the individual’s hearing thresholds, the type and degree of hearing loss, and their specific listening challenges.

 2. Programming Software: Audiologists use specialized programming software provided by the hearing aid manufacturer. This software allows them to adjust various parameters of the hearing aids, including gain, compression settings, frequency response, and more.

Some hearing aids also feature wireless connectivity, allowing adjustments to be made through smartphone apps.

3. Patient Input: The audiologist takes into account the patient’s input regarding their listening experiences, preferences, and specific listening environments (e.g., noisy restaurants, quiet home, outdoor activities).

This information helps guide the programming process to ensure that the hearing aids are tailored to the patient’s needs and lifestyle.

4. Initial Fitting: Based on the audiometric results and patient input, the audiologist makes initial adjustments to the hearing aids.

The patient wears the programmed hearing aids, and any immediate issues or concerns are addressed.

5. Real-Ear Measurement (REM): Many audiologists use real-ear measurement to ensure that the hearing aids are providing the correct amplification for the individual’s unique ear canal and hearing characteristics.

During REM, a thin microphone is placed in the ear canal, and the hearing aids are adjusted while measuring the real-time sound levels in the ear canal. This helps fine-tune the hearing aid settings for optimal performance.

6. Verification and Validation:

Verification involves using objective measures (e.g., speech mapping, probe microphone measures) to ensure that the hearing aids are delivering the intended amplification.

Validation involves assessing the patient’s satisfaction and real-world experiences with the hearing aids, making additional adjustments as needed.

7. Follow-Up Appointments: Hearing aid programming is an ongoing process. The patient typically has several follow-up appointments to fine-tune and optimize the hearing aid settings.

Adjustments may be made based on the patient’s feedback and evolving hearing needs.

8. Learning and Counseling: The audiologist provides the patient with guidance on adapting to and using the hearing aids effectively.

Patients are educated on proper care, maintenance, and battery replacement.

Tinnitus Management

Additionally, we provide counseling and sound therapy to help individuals manage tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears.

Custom Ear Plugs & Hearing Protection

Our audiologists can order custom earplugs and hearing protection devices for individuals who are exposed to loud noises. Earmold impressions are taken of the ear canals and outer ears in order to build the custom shape.

Counseling & Education

Hearing loss is complicated, but we’re here to help, providing counseling and education on hearing loss, hearing conservation, and communication strategies for individuals and their families.

Better Hearing is Our Mission

(941) 342- 9494

jessica@sheaentclinic.com

5432 Bee Ridge Rd Suite 170 Sarasota, FL 34233

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