South Carolina ENT is an all-encompassing diagnostic audiology facility. Unlike other hearing health practices, our audiologists work side-by-side with board-certified physicians for a more comprehensive approach to manage your hearing loss or balance problems.
Otoacoustic emission testing allows the audiologist to understand how the outer hair cells of your inner ear are responding to sound stimulation. OAE testing is commonly performed on infants and young children as an accurate method of screening for hearing impairments.
Tympanometry is an examination used to test the condition of the middle ear and mobility of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) by creating variations of air pressure in the ear canal. Many children develop fluid behind the eardrum due to upper respiratory infections. This procedure can make a direct measurement of the middle ear system to rule out the possibility of a middle ear problem.
Hearing testing begins with an auditory history. For example, you will be asked if there is family history of hearing loss, any previous ear infections, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or noise exposure. Next, there will be a series of examinations in a sound-treated booth, including
- Otoscopy, a visual examination of the ears
- Tympanometry, to assess the status of the middle ear
- Audiometry, which measures hearing ability
How long does the hearing test take?
The test takes approximately 30 minutes.
Should I bring anything?
Please bring any previous audiograms, if they are available.
Recommendations will be made based on all of these results
The child's age and ability determine which of the following test methods are used.
Subjective Testing Methods
- Behavioral Observation Audiometry (BOA). This test is typically administered to babies from birth to 7 months. Speech and sounds are made from speakers in a sound-treated room, and the child is observed for changes such as eye movements, changes in sucking pattern, cessation of crying, etc.
- Visual Reinforced Audiometry (VRA). Typically administered to children from 7 months to 3 years, in this test the child is taught to turn his/her head each time a sound is presented from a speaker. The child's responses are reinforced with a light or moving toy.
- Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA). This test is typically administered to children from 3 years to 5 years. During CPA the child may wear headphones. He/she is taught to play a game during testing (e.g. throw a ball into a bucket) when hearing a sound.
- Conventional Audiometry. This type of testing is typically administered to children 5 years and older. The child wears headphones and raises their hand when a sound is heard. The child will be asked to repeat words
Objective Testing Methods
- Otoacoustic Emissions (as indicated) involves presenting sound into the ear and measuring the response of the outer hair cells to auditory stimulation while the patient sits calmly.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (as indicated) assesses the organs of hearing, the auditory nerve, and the auditory pathways to the level of the brainstem while the patient is quiet or in a natural sleep state.
This objective test assesses the organs of balance (vestibular system) and pathways to the level of the brainstem with the purpose of evaluating the integrity of the balance system, and if possible, which ear is affected.
How does VNG work?
During VNG, goggles are placed over the eyes and connected to the equipment via wires. The goggles have a camera inside that monitors eye movement. During this test a computer analysis will be performed in response to the data collected. The results are interpreted by an Audiologist to determine the integrity of the balance system
These tests are noninvasive; no needles or x-rays are involved. The patient may feel temporarily dizzy, but under controlled, painless conditions.
What does the patient do during these tests?
There are three part to the test, all of which occur with the patient sitting in an adjustable chair.
Part one takes place with the patient sitting up while watching a moving light or lights. This assesses the visual system.
Part two takes place with the patient laying back. Eye movements are monitored in different head and body positions. This assesses the effect of position changes on the patient.
Part three takes place with the patient laying back at an angle. Cool and warm air will be put into the patient’s ear. This assesses the balance system.
How should I prepare for the evaluation?
To prepare for the evaluation, you should
- Discontinue alcohol consumption for at least 48 hours prior to the evaluation.
- Discontinue eating 3 hours before the exam time, and meals prior to that time should be light.
- DO NOT wear eye make-up.
- DO NOT take certain medications for up to 48 hours prior to the evaluation, however do not discontinue any medications without first consulting your physician.
When will the results be ready?
The audiologist will analyze the data and write the report. The physician will review the results.
A follow-up appointment is typically scheduled with the physician within two weeks of the evaluation.
The ECoG is an objective test used to aid in the diagnosis of Meniere’s disease and other disorders. The test measures the electrical potentials generated in the cochlea—a part of the inner ear—in response to sound stimulation.
What should I expect during an ECoG test?
During this test:
- A sticker electrode is placed on the forehead and foil covered earphones are inserted into the ear canals, which are gently cleansed beforehand.
- A sound stimulus is presented to the patient’s ear through the earphones.
- The electrode picks up cochlear activity that occurs in response to the sound.
- Once the measurements are collected, the electrode and earphones will be removed, and the patient can proceed with the day as normal
- The waves are interpreted by the audiologist.
How do I prepare for an ECoG test?
- Do not wear face makeup for easier preparation.
- Relax and sit still in the exam chair with eyes closed during the test.
When will the test results be ready?
After the test, the audiologist will interpret the data and write the report. The report will be reviewed by your physician and a follow-up appointment with your physician is typically scheduled with the physician at least five days after the test.
The ABR test is an objective test that assesses the organs of hearing, auditory nerve, and auditory pathways to the level of the brainstem with the purpose of evaluating the integrity of the hearing system and estimating the softest sound (threshold) a patient can hear at various pitches.
ABR testing is usually recommended for infants and young children or for patients who may be difficult to test using conventional techniques.
What should I expect during an ABR Test?
An ABR test is non-invasive and not painful. Depending on the age, health, and behavior of the patient, the test can be performed without sedation. During this test:
- Sticker electrodes are placed on the patient’s head and connected via wires to the testing equipment.
- A sound stimulus is presented in the patient’s ears individually through earphones.
- A computer analysis will be performed in response to the data collected.
- The results are interpreted by an audiologist to determine the integrity of the hearing system and/or a patient’s threshold.