Hearing Care

Hearing Loss

Are you struggling to hear?

When you struggle to hear, our ability to communicate effectively is compromised. It becomes difficult to enjoy participating in daily activities such as personal conversations, outings with friends, parties, business meetings or family gatherings. It also becomes challenging to talk on the phone or to watch television.

Hearing loss is a decrease in the ability to hear sounds. It can range in severity from mild to severe and it may be temporary or permanent.

Hearing loss can occur either in the outer or middle ear or in the inner ear. Typical problems include: excessive earwax, perforation of the eardrum, the natural aging process, exposure to excessive noise, infections, injury or certain medication.

Hearing Tests

A hearing test is done to determine if a hearing loss does exist. It also provides information about the type and severity of the hearing loss.

A detailed history is first taken to discuss the reason for your visit as well as the difficulties you are experiencing. An examination of the ear and the ear canal is then done. The following tests may then be conducted: Oto-acoustic Emissions, Pure Tone Audiometry, Tympanometry, Acoustic Reflex Testing, Speech Audiometry and Auditory Brainstem Response.

We will give you an explanation of the results as well as a copy of your hearing results for you to keep for future reference. A referral to your E.N.T. Specialist is then made if necessary.

A hearing test usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes.

Hearing Aids

We will choose from the very latest in digital hearing aid technology to find the most suitable hearing aid for you. Hearing aids are customised to fit the shape of your ear, the degree of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your hearing needs.

A hearing aid is a small device worn in the ear that has a microphone that picks up sound from the environment, amplifies it and then transmits the sounds into your ear. A small battery provides the necessary power.

Hearing aids adjust automatically in different environments. It focuses on improving the clarity of speech. It also picks up environmental sounds as these are necessary to interact with your environment as these are important for your safety. Modern technology in hearing aids allow you to hear soft sounds, ensuring better speech clarity while ensuring loud sounds and noisy situations are not too loud.

Hearing aids are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and technology. There are many different types / styles of hearing aids on the market which include In-the-ear (ITE) or Completelyin-Canal hearing aids and others are worn behind the ear (BTE).

We offer a wide variety of hearing aid technology and use a range of hearing aid manufacturers. The market leaders in hearing aid technology on an international scale include Widex, Phonak Siemens, Unitron and Oticon. We fit international hearing aid brands with laboratories that are set up in South Africa to service and repair their hearing aids.

The cost of a hearing aid varies depending on the technological features available. Once a hearing aid is chosen for you, we will then program it on computer specifically to your hearing difficulties. We will discuss the use and care of your hearing aid in detail and answer any of your concerns.

Follow up appointments are offered FREE of charge to discuss any difficulties that you are experiencing with your hearing aids and any adjustments needed to suit your hearing needs.

Once you have purchased hearing aids you will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty for an agreed period. We offer an ongoing repair and cleaning service to all our patients. We will keep you up to date with any new technology and provide information about any new devices and upgrades that are available.

Babies Hearing

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All babies born should have a hearing screening within the first few days of birth when in hospital. However this does not usually occur and children that are born with a hearing loss are usually identified quite late. As a parent if you have any concerns about your babies hearing please do not hesitate to have a hearing test done or speak to an audiologist to address any of your concerns.

If your baby has had any of the following high risk factors then it is highly recommended that a hearing screening be done:

  • Family history of permanent hearing loss
  • Maternal infections during pregnancy or delivery
  • Physical abnormalities of the head, face, ears, or neck
  • Ototoxic medication given in the neonatal period
  • Syndromes associated with hearing loss
  • Admission to a neonatal intensive care unit greater than 5 days
  • Prematurity (< 37 weeks)
  • Hyperbilirubinemia

An electrophysiological measure called an Oto-acoustic Emission(OAE) is used to measure your babies hearing. A small probe tip is placed in your babies ear and a result is obtained immediately. This test usually takes a few minutes.

If your child does not pass the hearing screening, a retest is usually done after 2 weeks. Thereafter further hearing tests such as an Auditory Brainstem Response Test and a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist will be done if necessary.

Identification of a hearing loss in children should be done as early as possible. Children need access to hearing during the critical language acquisition period especially in the first year of life. The effect on the quality of life for children with a hearing loss can be dramatic and severe.

Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)

Auditory processing disorders (APD), is a complex problem that affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, especially speech. An auditory processing disorder usually manifests with difficulties processing auditory information in the presence of background noise.

A child needs to first have their hearing tested to rule out a hearing loss and thereafter an auditory processing assessment may be done.

Possible Signs:

  • Easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises
  • Noisy environments upsetting
  • Behaviour and performance improves in quieter settings
  • Difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated
  • Reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties
  • Abstract information difficult to comprehend
  • Difficulties with verbal math

Once a diagnosis is made, an intervention plan is then discussed. FM systems may assist in the management of auditory processing disorders especially understanding speech in noisy situations.

Wax Removal

Wax is an important natural defense mechanism to help prevent infections and protect the eardrum. Wax usually works its way slowly out of the ear canals.

Wax is most likely to block the ear canal when it is pushed into the ear-canal by objects such as cotton-buds, hairpins or keys. Symptoms include partial loss of hearing, itching, coughing, ringing, fullness and sometimes pain may also be experienced.

If wax builds-up, we recommend a few drops of olive oil in the ear canal can help to soften the wax. Repeat the process 2 times a day for a few days and then call us to have your ears syringed to have the wax removed.

We use a specialized ear irrigator, using a low pressure flow of water to gently remove the wax. Ear syringing is a painless procedure, but your ear may feel strange as the water is sprayed into the ear canal.

Noise Protection

Your hearing needs protecting in all aspects of life.

If you are exposed to high levels of noise, this can cause a permanent hearing loss.

We provide you with custom-made luxury hearing protection for loud music, shooting, and motorbike riders reducing noise level to ensure a ‘safe’ level.

We also advise employers on the selection of appropriate personal hearing protection, given the nature and extent of employee noise exposures. We then fit personal hearing protection and instruct and motivate employees regarding use and care. We also train and supervise your staff in appropriate procedures for dispensing hearing protectors to employees.

E.N.T Support

We work alongside and have support from various Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist in the Durban and surrounding areas. Once a hearing evaluation is done, if medical management is requirement, we refer you to a suitable E.N.T specialist or referral back to your E.N.T.

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