The Audiologists at Cairns Audiology Group are experienced in the assessment of Auditory Processing problems in both children at or above 7 years of age and adults using the latest evidence based protocols and testing methods.
Cairns Audiology Group provides a comprehensive range of audiological assessments for adults including;
• Pure Tone Audiometry
• Speech Audiometry
• Otoacoustic Emissions
The Audiologists at Cairns Audiology Group are also experienced in the provision of specialized diagnostic audiology and balance assessments which can assist in identifying a wide range of conditions such as Meniere’s Disease, Peri-lymphatic Fistula (i.e. dive trauma) and Otosclerosis. These complex diagnostic assessments include;
• Perilymphatic Fistula Test (Pressure Test)
• Electro-Cochleography (ECochG)
• Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
Pure Tone Audiometry:
Pure tone audiometry involves listening to beeps across a range of pitches, or frequencies, and responding when the stimulus is heard by pressing a button. The beeps may be delivered via headphones or via a small oscillator placed behind the ear on the mastoid bone. The Audiologist will find the softest sound you can hear across a range of frequencies and determine your hearing thresholds, which are the softest sounds you can hear across the range of pitches that are important for speech understanding. This test can be used to determine not only the degree of hearing loss if any, but also the type of hearing loss and whether hearing aids would be a useful management tool for each particular client.
Tympanometry is an objective test of middle ear function which can assess the health of the tympanic membrane (ear drum), eustachian tube and middle ear space.
During this assessment the audiologist will place a probe into your child’s ear which will introduce a gentle varying pressure into the ear canal and measure the compliance or movement of the middle ear system in response.
Tympanometry takes just a few seconds to perform and the result can indicate to the audiologist if there is fluid or effusion in the middle ear pace (glue ear), a perforation of the tympanic membrane or the presence of other middle ear conditions.
Speech audiometry involves the measurement of an individual’s ability to hear and understand speech stimulus which is presented via headphones or in the free field via speakers. This assessment provides not only a way to confirm the hearing thresholds obtained during Pure Tone Audiometry (link to Pure Tone Audiometry Subtitle) but also gives a prediction of the individual’s ability to discriminate normal conversational speech and the benefits they may receive if speech is amplified via the use of hearing aids (Link to hearing aid page).
Otoscoustic Emmissions (OAEs):
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs) are sounds which are generated by the movement of the outer hair cells of the inner ear (or cochlea) in response to an auditory stimulus which is delivered to the ear via a probe in the ear canal. The strength of the Otoacoustic Emission can help the audiologist to determine the origin of a hearing loss detected on the audiogram.
Perilymph Fistula Test (Pressure Test):
This is an assessment used to determine if a peri-lymphatic fistula (a tear in the membranes between the middle and inner ears) has occurred as a result of trauma (i.e. dive accident/barotrauma). The assessment is carried out by altering the pressure in the middle ear to determine whether the pressure changes cause the dizziness and involuntary eye movement.
This assessment is often requested for patients with symptoms of dizziness and aural fullness or for those suspected of having Meniere’s disease. The assessment measures the electrical response of the inner ear by placing an electrode against the ear drum which will detect the inner ear response to a sound stimulus delivered via earphones.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP):
This assessment is used to determine the function of the saccule which is a peripheral balance organ in the inner ear whose function is to relay information about linear acceleration in a vertical plane, like jumping up and down on the spot.
Testing involves measuring the sterno-mastoid reflex in response to loud sounds. The sterno-mastoid reflex occurs when the neck muscles relax in response to an activation/vibration of the saccule. This test can be used to detect specific vestibular pathologies such as semicircular canal dehiscence.
Video-Nystagmography and Caloric Assessment:
Video-nystagmography (VNG) refers to a battery of tests run using infra-red video goggles to monitor the eyes. The video camera measures eye movements to evaluate signs of vestibular dysfunction or neurological problems. Parts of the VNG test battery evaluate the movement of the eyes as they follow different visual targets. Other parts of the VNG test battery observe eye movements as the head is placed in different positions.
A third component of the VNG test is called the caloric test, which uses changes in temperature within the ear canal to stimulate part of the vestibular system. Warm or cool air is directed into the ear canal. When the air enters the ear and the inner ear changes temperature, it should cause fast, side-to-side eye movements called nystagmus. The nystagmus is measured and evaluated to determine the strength of the caloric response and is compared between ears to identify any weakness.
Ice cold water may be used if there are no responses.
Video Head Impulse Testing (vHIT):
vHIT evaluates how well the eyes and inner ears work together (vestibulo-ocular or VOR reflex). A small set of glasses with a camera are used to monitor eye movements as the Audiologist induces very small and quick movements of the head.
More information on Auditory Processing Disorders and their management