Diagnostic Hearing Tests
These are detailed tests performed on your ears to determine the presence of a hearing loss and to provide evidence on the cause of the hearing loss. Testing helps ascertain the best management approach for the individual i.e. referral to an ENT specialist for medical management or audiological management through assistive devices such as hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Evaluations
A hearing aid evaluation determines the type of hearing aid recommended for a hearing loss. This is done using the results from the diagnostic hearing test, together with lifestyle factors, listening needs, preferences and need for technical features, style, size, accessories needed and previous experience with hearing aids. There are a variety of brands and each is suited to different listening needs.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a serious problem in the workplace that can be avoided. People working in noisy environments such as miners, factory workers, construction workers and musicians are susceptible to a permanent NIHL because of exposure to excessive noise levels. Screening and diagnostic industrial hearing tests are conducted in accordance with current legislation and adheres to the South African National Standard (SANS) requirements. Hearing screening should be conducted annually and diagnostic evaluations done as needed.
Each child entering formal education at Grade 0/R or 1 should undergo a hearing screening. Testing can either be done at school or at our Wynberg practice. Failing a hearing screening means that the child requires a more in-depth hearing evaluation to be conducted in a sound-proof booth by an audiologist.
Tinnitus is a ringing, hissing or buzzing sound in the ears or head. It can range from a minor annoyance to a debilitating condition and can result in sleep disorders, depression or anxiety.
A tinnitus evaluation is performed to identify they type, severity and nature of the tinnitus perception. During the evaluation a thorough case history is performed, followed by a full audiological assessment. This assessment may include tests to quantify the tinnitus by matching its pitch, loudness and/or maskability. Management appropriate to the patient’s needs follows the evaluation.
Vestibular Assessment involves an evaluation of the balance system and how well it is functioning. At Francis Slabber & Associates, we use special eye lenses called M-Glasses to test the Vestibulo-Occular Reflex, which tells us how well the vestibular organs are working in each ear. We test comprehensively, and our protocol includes the following tests, among others:
- Head Impulse testing
- Functional posturography, which isolates the three components of the balance system
- Dix-Hallpike, a positioning test that evaluates how head position may trigger dizziness
- Dynamic Gait Observation, which looks at how your dizziness or imbalance is affecting how you walk.
Testing may result in referral to other health care practitioners for specific treatment, or may lead to sessions or a home program of balance and dizziness preventing exercises.