Carolinas Rehabilitation's audiology program provides extensive audiology services to inpatients and outpatients at Carolinas Rehabilitation as well as other Carolinas HealthCare System facilities. Other than routine newborn hearing screenings, services are provided by audiologists with a Master's Degree or Doctor of Audiology degree and are licensed by the State of North Carolina.
Services provided by audiology include:
Infant Hearing Program: Audiology oversees the Infant Hearing Program for CHS hospitals. Trained volunteers and nursing staff provide automated hearing screenings to newborns in these facilities. Infants at risk for hearing loss or with more complex medical problems receive specialized hearing tests completed by audiologists. Infants who do not pass the routine newborn hearing screening should be seen for a follow-up screening by one month of age.
Balance Assessment: The Posturography (EQ) tests the balance system through visual, vestibular and proprioceptive (touch) components.
Hearing Assessments: Hearing assessments are provided for infants through older adults. Testing can include:
- Behavioral hearing testing: Requires the patient to show a response to sounds. Testing with infants (six months or older) can be done using Visual Reinforcement Audiometry, with young children using Play Audiometry, or using routine test methods for older children and adults.
- Immittance Audiometry: Assesses middle ear function through tests called tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing. These tests can help identify problems such as middle ear fluid, perforated eardrum or stiffness of the eardrum. They also help determine the type of hearing problem that may be present.
- Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE): Assesses the function of the cochlea or organ of hearing. This type of test does not require a response from the patient and is very helpful in the testing of infants and young children, and patients unable to cooperate for behavioral hearing testing. OAE testing is typically done in conjunction with behavioral hearing testing and/or Auditory Evoked Response testing.
- Auditory Evoke Response (AER): There are several types of Auditory Evoked Response tests that can be completed. These tests assess the function of the 8th (hearing) nerve and can provide information about the site of the lesion, as well as the degree and type of hearing loss.
- Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER or ABR): Uses clicks and tonebursts to check the function of the hearing nerve and to determine hearing ability. The use of tonebursts allows the audiologist to check hearing for a range of frequencies.
- Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR): Uses tones to assess hearing ability and is most useful in cases of moderate to profound hearing loss. ASSR is completed in conjunction with BAER testing.
- Infants and young children need to be asleep for AER testing. Adults need to be able to relax and rest quietly. In some instances, for children six months of age and older, sedation may be needed to perform the BAER or ASSR tests. In these cases, the tests are scheduled with anesthesiologists at one of our local hospitals.
- Central Auditory Processing Evaluation: Assess auditory processing abilities. Testing can be done with children ages seven years and older who have normal hearing ability. This type of test is appropriate for children with difficulties with learning and listening skills.
For more information about audiology services, call 704-355-4430.