The audiology division provides the following services to children, adolescents, youth, and the geriatric populations:
- Perform all audiological tests to detect/diagnose hearing impairments
- Programming and dispensing various types of advanced digital hearing aids to meet clients’ needs & personal preferences
- Neonatal hearing screenings
- Cochlear programming and being part of the multidisciplinary team for the cochlear implant procedure for hearing impaired children in Saudi Arabia.
- Providing recommendations and treatment solutions for tinnitus & dizziness problems in adults
- Industrial Hearing Conservation services in the industrial environment (workshops, factories, and laboratories)
Types of Hearing Tests & Assessments:
- Pure Tone Testing
This type of test is used to measure patient’s ability to hear sounds at different pitches and volumes. Patient wears headphones inside a soundproof booth. A sequence of sounds will be transmitted through the headphones. Every time the patient hears a tone, he/she will be asked to raise a hand or press a button. The results will then be printed on an audiogram.
This test measures the movement of patient’s eardrum in response to air pressure. It can determine if there is an accumulation of fluid, wax, or eardrum punctures or tumors.
- Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
ABR test determines whether a specific type of hearing loss—sensorineural—exists. It is also frequently used to screen newborns for hearing problems. In an ABR test, electrodes are attached to a patient’s head, scalp or earlobes, and patient is given headphones to wear. The brainwave activity is measured in response to sounds of varying strengths.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs)
OAEs are sounds generated by the vibrations of the hair cells in the cochlea of your inner ear. This type of testing uses a tiny probe fitted with a microphone and speaker to stimulate the cochlea and measure its response. Individuals with normal hearing will produce emissions; when hearing loss exceeds 25-30 decibels, no sound will be produced. This test helps determine whether there is a blockage in the ear canal, excess fluid in the middle ear or damage to the hair cells of the cochlea. OAE testing is often included in newborn hearing screening programs.
Types of Hearing Disorders:
- Neural Hearing Impairment
A hearing impairment caused by a defect in the auditory nerve or auditory nerve centers in the brain. Normally, the inner ear sends nerve impulses through the auditory nerve to the brain. But in rare cases as a result of aging or as a result of a defect in the auditory nerve, nerve impulses may not reach the brain or may be distorted.
- Conductive Hearing Disorder
This type of hearing loss is caused by functional or structural (congenital) problems” in the outer, middle, or external and middle ears together.
Conductive Hearing Impairment is usually treated with medication, sometimes surgery, and/or using hearing aids. Examples of diseases and conditions that could cause conductive hearing loss are:
- Distortion in the outer or middle ear
- The presence of foreign objects or the wax buildup of the ear canal
- Infections in the outer or middle ear
- Perforation of the eardrum
- Allergic diseases
- Neuro-Sensorineural Hearing Disorder:
It usually occurs because of a defect in the inner ear, which impairs the ability to feel sound. This is mostly caused by damage to the sensory capillaries in the inner ear or auditory cochlea
These cells may be infected from birth or other factors in later life stages such as head accidents, infections, exposure to loud sounds or taking large doses of antibiotics.
On the other hand, some genetic problems or syndromes may cause auditory sensory impairment in later stages of life that were not present at the moment of birth. But this type of impairment is usually managed with the use of hearing aids.
- What Is a Cochlea?
It is an electronic device that was invented to restore hearing to persons with severe to profound hearing impairment who did not benefit from hearing aids. The cochlea consists of two parts; A part that is surgically implanted inside the inner ear and a part placed behind the ear. Unlike a digital hearing aid that only amplifies sounds, the electronic cochlea directly delivers electrical impulses similar to nerve impulses to the auditory nerve.
- How Does the Cochlea Work?
The inner ear converts sounds into nerve impulses. These pulses are sent to the brain, which in turn analyzes and identifies them so the person hears and understands the source and meaning of these sounds. The electronic cochlea works like the inner ear, as it converts sounds into electrical impulses, which are similar to the nerve impulses that are produced by the healthy ear.
- Auditory Verbal Rehabilitation:
It is to activate and adapt the sense of hearing to perform its function under the possible conditions, which helps to acquire language and the ability to speak. This contributes to improving the hearing-impaired social life and academic performance.
Tinnitus is defined as the sensation of noise and ringing in one or both ears, and is a common problem facing 15-20% of people. Tinnitus is not considered a pathological condition but rather is symptomatic of another condition such as age-related hearing loss or ear injury, or the presence of disorders in the circulatory system.
Other common causes of Tinnitus include:
- Tumor in the ear or auditory nerve.
- The ear is exposed to loud noises constantly and for long periods of time.
- Damage to the eardrum or to the middle ossicles.
- Use of heavy-duty loud machines like electric saws, and listening to loud music with headphones for long periods of time.
- Taking certain medications that cause tinnitus, such as: aspirin in high doses, more than 12 doses per day and over long periods of time. Some diuretics such as Furosemide, Malaria medication. Some antibiotics, such as Erythromycin and Gentamicin, certain cancer medications, such as Fenicristine.
- High level of cholesterol in the blood.
- Meniere’s disease
- Damage to the brain or neck due to accidents.
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
- Increased earwax secretion.
- Muscle contractions in the middle ear.
Tinnitus symptoms: hearing an inner voice without an external source of sound (phantom noise)
- Tinnitus Diagnosis:
- Hearing and Balance Test Your therapist may ask you to move your eyes, snap your jaw, or move your neck, arms, and legs. If your tinnitus changes or worsens, this may help identify the causing disorder that needs treatment.
- Imaging tests. Imaging tests such as CT Scan or MRI are required.
- Of course, in addition to determining the type of Tinnitus, it helps in diagnosis, for example, if the Tinnitus is a crackling of the problem in the external ear, if the Tinnitus sound is concerned with the formation of the problem in the circulatory system and blood pressure, if the disease is of a low-resonance layer, it may be an illuminating disease, If the layer is high and in one ear, it indicates a tumor
- Tinnitus Treatment:
1. Physical health or fitness exercises
2. Paying attention to ear hygiene and cleanliness
3. Mute noise or Tinnitus by using some devices, such as the white noise apparatus or wearing hearing aids
4. Some medications that contribute to reducing the severity of Tinnitus, not treating it completely
5. Changing your daily lifestyle such as staying away from some foods, caffeinated drinks and quitting smoking because it contains nicotine.
- Tinnitus Prevention:
There are many cases in which tinnitus cannot be prevented as a result of the presence of certain diseases or the ear’s exposure to internal or external injuries, but there are some precautions if followed, they could help to protect against certain types of Tinnitus, including the following:
- The use of hearing aids: over time, the use of heavy machinery such as electric saws or firearms, or exposure to loud noises such as concerts, can result in damage to the ear from tinnitus or hearing loss, in which cases protective aids must be worn.
- Reducing volume, especially when listening to loud music with headphones.
- Maintaining cardiovascular health through a healthy diet and regular exercise to prevent tinnitus associated with vascular disorders.