Hearing and Balance Center

Albany’s Hearing Loss Doctor

Albany ENT & Allergy Services PC provides comprehensive audiological, tinnitus, and balance assessments to help diagnose hearing and balance disorders.  Our services are provided by licensed doctors of audiology. These include:

  • Audiological Evaluations for Adults and Children
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
  • Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BSER)
  • Electrocochleography (ECOG)
  • High Frequency Audiometric Testing
  • Perilymphatic Fistula Testing
  • Videonystagmography (VNG)
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
  • Tinnitus Assessment & Management
  • Aural Rehabilitation

Audiological Service Descriptions

Audiological Evaluation

The purpose of the audiological evaluation is to determine a person’s hearing sensitivity at different pitches/frequencies that are important for speech understanding, and also to evaluate the health of the middle ear.  The hearing test is completed in a sound treated room and earphones are typically placed in the ears of the patient. The patient then responds to a series of sounds to determine the degree of hearing sensitivity. The patient is also asked to repeat a series of words in order to determine how well speech is understood.  For the young patient games are played that requires a child to respond to sounds that are heard.  Immittance testing is completed to assess the status of the middle ear, and also provides information regarding the sensory, neural, and motor pathways.  During this test slight pressure is applied to the ear and sounds are presented through an earplug with no required response by the patient.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)

Otoacoustic Emissions testing is used to assess the condition of the outer hair cells in the cochlea, which is located in the inner ear.  Sounds are presented through earphones.  When OAEs are present the ear will emit a tone in response to the stimulation.  These tones are measured by a sensitive microphone within the earphone.  The presence of otoacoustic emissions supports healthy outer hair cell function.  Some common applications include the diagnosis of dysfunction within the inner ear particularly for those with tinnitus and/or a history of noise exposure, newborn hearing screening, and also to monitor effects of certain medications that may damage the inner ear.

Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BSER)

BSER testing is an objective measure of the status of the auditory nerve pathway from the inner ear to the brainstem. In this test electrodes (similar in appearance to stickers) are placed on a patient’s forehead and insert earphones are placed in the ears. While sitting comfortably a clicking sound is presented to one ear at a time.

Results of the BSER are helpful in the diagnosis of demyelinating diseases of the brain (i.e. Multiple Sclerosis), tumors of the eighth cranial nerve (hearing and balance nerve) and vascular lesions (strokes) of the brainstem. BSER can also serve as a means of hearing threshold estimation to determine if hearing is present when necessary.

Electrocochleography (ECOG)

ECOG has a similar set up as the BSER, and is an objective test that records electrical responses of the inner ear.  The results are used to help support and monitor the presence of Ménière’s disease.

Perilymphatic Fistula Test

Positive and negative pressure is applied to the intact eardrum. Infrared goggles are worn by the patient so that eye movements can be recorded during the test. The patient is monitored for any dizziness or disequilibrium that may occur subsequent to the pressure change.

Videonystagmography (VNG)

VNG is a series of tests used to determine the causes of a patient’s dizziness or balance disorder. Movement of the eyes are measured through infrared goggles around the eyes. Rapid eye movements and tracking of visual targets are evaluated as are the effects of positions of the head and body. Lastly, as warm and cool water circulates within the ear canals eye movements are recorded and analyzed.

Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP)

The purpose of VEMP testing is to assess the function of an organ within the inner ear and a portion of the vestibular nerve. A series of clicks are presented through an earphone. While lying on the back, the patient is asked to keep the head elevated using the muscles of the neck. No preparation is required, however, wearing turtlenecks or tight clothing around the neck should be avoided as recordings will be gathered from the neck and forehead.

Tinnitus & Hyperacusis Assessment and Management

The comprehensive tinnitus and hyperacusis assessment process includes tinnitus history questionnaires, audiological evaluation extended to the high frequency of 12.5 kHz, tinnitus characterization, and evaluation of tinnitus disturbance and its impact on quality of life. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) and Neuromonics Tinnitus Treatment are available for those who are determined to be suitable candidates. Both programs are effective methods for reducing tinnitus awareness and disturbance.

TRT consists of informational counseling along with sound therapy. It is based on the neurophysiological model developed by Pawel Jastreboff, Ph.D., Sc.D. TRT is also an effective treatment for decreased sound tolerance (hyperacusis and misophonia).

Neuromonics is the manufacturer and distributor of a patented, FDA cleared, and clinically proven non-invasive medical device developed by Paul Davis, Ph.D. designed for long-term significant relief of tinnitus. It is a form of sound therapy and is customized to each patient’s unique hearing and tinnitus profile. For more information please visit www.neuromonics.com

Aural Rehabilitation

In order to optimize a patient’s listing and communication skills we offer LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement) aural rehabilitation. Improving audibility of speech sounds using amplification is a fundamental step towards successful communication. Unfortunately many patients continue to report difficulty listening to the message despite the use of properly fitted hearing aids, as do others with normal hearing.  LACE is a self-paced, home-based interactive computer program that provides training to improve a variety of listening challenges such as listening in noisy places and understanding rapid rates of speech. More information is provided at their website www.neurotone.com

Assistive Technology

Assistive listening devices such as amplified telephone and stethoscopes, TV listening and personal communication systems, and Bluetooth enable devices are available to help meet an individual’s unique listening needs. Alerting devices such as smoke detectors and alarm clocks may also be selected to ensure awareness of important environmental signals.

Albany ENT & Allergy Services is committed to providing exceptional care, which includes improving auditory access for our patients with hearing loss.  We have equipped our waiting room and audiology reception area with a hearing loop system to demonstrate the effectiveness of these systems.  This simple technology allows users of hearing aids with telecoils (tcoils) to hear better in challenging listening environments as the effects of background noise and distance are reduced.  Click on the link below to hear the difference yourself.  We welcome you to call our office to learn more about the numerous applications of hearing loop systems.

http://www.hearingloopsystems.com/hear

Custom Products

Hearing Conservation products are available and include: 

  • Custom in-ear monitors and musician’s earplugs are available through Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation. Dr. Lane (or Janelle Lane, AuD) was personally trained by Sensaphonics president Michael Santucci, AuD to meet the needs of music industry clients and has extensive experience working with musicians, sound engineers and audiophiles. For more information on products available, please visit www.sensaphonics.com
  • Swim plugs
  • Personal hearing protection devices: hunters, motorcyclists, and multipurpose custom plugs
  • Personal earmolds for iPod and MP3 players

Additional Services Include:

Custom in-ear monitors for musicians

Custom ear molds for swimming, iPod/MP3. and hearing protection

Assistive listening devices such as amplified telephone and stethoscopes, TV listening and personal communication systems, and Bluetooth enable devices are available to help meet an individual’s unique listening needs. Alerting devices such as smoke detectors and alarm clocks may also be selected to ensure awareness of important environmental signals.

News: Around The (Acoustic) Horn

Annual Noisy Toys List Released

St. Paul, Minn— As the holiday season approaches, the Sight & Hearing Association has come in loud and clear in identifying toys for children that are naughty to young ears.

For the 13th year, the nonprofit organization and researchers from the University of Minnesota tested a variety of toys for potentially dangerous noise levels. Seven of 18 toys tested sounded out louder than 100 dB — similar to the blare of a chainsaw. An additional concern for parents may be that all of the toys tested are meant for children under the age of 4, who have shorter arm lengths and will play with loud toys closer to their ears. Read more here.

Meet our Staff
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Contact
Deanna Ross AuD

An audiologist is a licensed professional with a Master’s or Doctoral degree from an accredited university graduate program. Audiologists are health care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, and treat hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance disorders in children and adults.


Resources
Sight and Hearing Association: Noisy Toys Study 2009
American Academy of Audiology
American Otological Society
American Neurotology Society
American Speech-Language Hearing Association
American Tinnitus Association
Meniett.com
Hearing Loss Association of America
LACE
Neuromonics 
Keeping Kids Safe in Sound