If your family complains you have the TV too loud, or you find you’re missing bits of conversation, you may be experiencing a hearing loss. Michigan Medicine’s audiologists and hearing aid technicians evaluate patients of all ages with hearing loss. We also provide comprehensive hearing loss services, including hearing assessments, diagnosis and treatment, often in conjunction with our department’s otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat physicians). Unique to our culture is the collaboration that exists between the audiologists and physicians in the department. Sharing in patient care and collaborating on their hearing concerns means we can make cohesive and comprehensive treatment decisions.
Each year across our clinics, we see approximately 18,000 patients, fit more than 1,000 hearing aids and provide intraoperative nerve monitoring for over 700 surgeries in the operating room.
Michigan Medicine Audiology provides comprehensive hearing loss services, including:
- Hearing tests
- Hearing aid evaluation, dispensing, fitting and tuning
- Preoperative testing of hearing and facial function for adults with vestibular schwannomas/acoustic neuromas
- Hearing rehabilitation including cochlear implants
The audiology team and our otologic partners are very experienced at treating routine and more unusual forms of hearing loss that others may be uncomfortable treating, such as Meniere’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo and ringing in the ears), superior canal dehiscence syndrome (a rare condition where the roof of the superior semicircular canal in the inner ear is missing), or hearing loss caused by malfunction of the immune system.
Our hearing aid dispensing program provides excellent, comprehensive services and competitive prices for patients with hearing aids.
Our audiologists perform many specialized hearing tests that may be ordered by a physician. Below is a list of the most-commonly ordered tests and procedures that we perform:
Custom-fitted and non-customized earplugs are inserted into the ear canal to variably attenuate, or reduce loud sounds, allowing musicians to hear music at less-than-harmful levels with minimal effects on perceived sound quality. Proper insertion and good physical fit of any earplug is key to successfully protecting one’s hearing. Earplugs incorrectly inserted into the ear may result in less than optimal reduction of loud sound, exposing the user to potentially harmful loud sound. Custom-fitted earplugs are created from an impression of each ear carefully taken by an audiologist, then manufactured offsite. After receiving the custom earplugs, the audiologist orients the user regarding their proper insertion and care. Non-customized earplugs can be purchased by a user on the internet. One should take into consideration the importance of selecting earplugs with appropriate attenuation characteristics and good physical fit.
Hearing Aid Evaluation
At this appointment, a patient and her audiologist discuss hearing aids and a recommendation for appropriate hearing aids is provided. The audiologist reviews the patient’s hearing test, discovers what hearing problems the patient would like to see improved and discusses options available for the patient. Patients may or may not need medical clearance from a physician prior to having a hearing aid evaluation and might need a comprehensive hearing test if ear and hearing symptoms have changed of if hearing testing has not been done recently.
Hearing Aid Fitting
Patients receive their hearing aids at this appointment. The audiologist checks to make sure the hearing aid and domes or earmolds fit properly in the ear. During this appointment, hearing aids are programmed or adjusted based on test results or patient reporting. The audiologist demonstrates for the patient how to use the hearing aids including how to place them, turn them on, use of all features, and importantly, how to take care of the hearing aids. Patients have 30 days to determine if the hearing aids are optimal and have the opportunity to return the hearing aids and receive a refund for the cost of the hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Check/Conformity
This is an appointment to determine if the hearing aids conform to expectations. Such an appointment can also be scheduled if someone has problems with a hearing aid down the road. The audiologist reviews information and examines the hearing aids, while tests are run to make sure the hearing aid is working properly. The audiologist may recommend that followup appointments are helpful, otherwise patients return as problems develop
This test is used to assess hearing by requiring a specific response (such as hand-raising or button pushing) in response to an acoustic stimulus. During the procedure, the patient will be asked to raise his/her hand or press a button each time s/he hears a sound. Basic audiologic assessment also includes speech reception threshold testing and word recognition measures which require the patient to repeat or identify a variety of different words and/or sentences. Patients receive their test results on the same day as their appointment, and results are instantly sent to the electronic medical record for other health care providers to access.
Electrocochleography evaluates the electrical signals generated by the inner ear. During the procedure, a soft electrode is placed on the eardrum and electrodes are placed on the head. The patient is asked to remain still with their eyes closed. Tones are then delivered to the ear through headphones. A computer records the signals generated by the ear. This appointment typically takes an hour. Patients receive their test results on the day of their appointment and results are stored in the electronic medical record.
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMP)
Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential testing evaluates the function of nerves and muscles connected to the balance organ (saccule and the inferior nerve of the vestibular system). Recording electrodes are placed on the patient’s head and neck and the patient is asked to flex the neck muscles by turning his/her head to one side. Muscle activity is recorded while clicks or tones are delivered to the ear. This appointment takes about half an hour. Patients receive their test results on the day of their appointment and test results are stored in the electronic medical record for access by providers.
Facial Nerve Electroneuronography (ENoG)
Electroneuronography tests the facial nerve by using small electrical pulses delivered to the face. The patient is asked to remain still while sitting in a chair. An electrode is attached to the forehead and a mild electrical stimulation is briefly delivered to the face. The response to stimulation is recorded and compared to the other, unaffected, side of the face. This test looks for signs of improvement or weakening of the facial muscles. The information is used to help determine the treatment used. Patients receive their test results on the same day as their appointment and results are maintained in the electronic medical record.
If you suspect you have hearing loss, please call to schedule a comprehensive assessment with an audiologist. We offer comprehensive hearing loss services and hearing aid dispensing.
Our audiology team is comprised of licensed healthcare professionals who provide patient-centered care in the identification, prevention, diagnosis and evidence-based treatment of hearing, balance, and other auditory disorders.