Much progress has been made recently to help those who suffer with the isolating effects of hearing loss. New technologies, such as the cochlear implant, give the deaf, even those who may not have had hearing from birth, the opportunity to enjoy the everyday sounds of life.

Similarly, trouble speaking clearly can prevent a person from fully communicating with family and friends.

Our licensed and certified audiologists and speech/language pathologists work with other WVU doctors to provide the highest quality patient care. With our help, you can achieve a level of communicating that will enrich your life to the fullest.

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Much progress has been made recently in helping those who suffer with the isolating effects of hearing loss. New technologies, such as the cochlear implant, give the deaf, even those who may not have had hearing from birth, the opportunity to enjoy the everyday sounds of life.

With our help, you can achieve a level of communicating that will enrich your life to the fullest.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be the result of many conditions, but it is generally divided into two categories.

  • conductive hearing loss
  • sensorineural hearing loss

Conductive hearing loss results when sound waves have trouble reaching the tiny hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear). Blockage in the ear canal from wax or swelling of the ear canal, as seen in swimmer’s ear, can result in conductive hearing loss. Most causes of conductive hearing loss are treatable either medically or surgically.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged and fail to transmit signals to the brain. Inherited problems of the inner ear can either cause hearing loss at birth or increasing hearing loss later in life.

Some inherited hearing loss can be related to other inherited issues, such as eye problems or heart problems.

Hearing loss can also be caused by viruses. The hearing loss can begin suddenly and may occur with ringing in the ears and dizziness. Corticosteroids, if given within the first 10 to 30 days are usually helpful in treating this condition.

A common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is long-term exposure to loud noises. As a general rule, if your ears are ringing after you leave a noisy environment, the sound could be damaging to your inner ears.

WVU Medicine Health Report: Tinnitus

Simple aging can also result in hearing loss. Part of the hearing loss seen in old age may be due to the long-term effects of noise over a lifetime. Other people may just be prone to losing their hearing as they get older due to genetic susceptibility.

Other causes of hearing loss can include:

  • Meniere’s disease
  • head injuries
  • tumors

If you think you have hearing loss, you should be evaluated by both a doctor and an audiologist. Hearing aids help most people who have trouble hearing. Assistive listening devices (ALD) may help those who have a fairly severe hearing loss. For people with hearing loss that is so severe that hearing aids or ALDs are not helpful, a cochlear implant may improve their ability to hear. If you come to our clinic for help with hearing loss, you will receive counseling and learn strategies that will help maximize your ability to hear.

Assistive Listening Devices

People with a significant hearing loss may benefit from using assistive listening devices (ALD). ALDs amplify sounds for specific needs of a hearing-impaired person in various situations, such as telephoning, understanding TV, and in classrooms.

Since interference from environmental noise is minimized by placing a microphone at the sound’s source, ALDs are ideal for communicating in noisy places. Target sounds are delivered to the ears with good quality and clarity.

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant provides hearing to adults and children who have profound hearing loss in both ears and who have little or no ability to understand speech, even with powerful hearing aids.

The cochlear implant works by stimulating nerves in the inner ear. Virtually all patients who receive cochlear implants are able to hear sounds at a much lower volume than before surgery.

If you want to explore receiving a cochlear implant, call the WVU Physician Office Center to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, you will learn about how the cochlear implant works and what the surgery entails.

Hearing Aids

A hearing aid is a miniature amplifier that helps someone to hear better. If you come to us for an evaluation, our audiologists will measure your understanding of speech and your hearing at different pitches.
The style of hearing aid that you might need depends upon the pattern and severity of your hearing loss. The basic styles of hearing aids include:

  • in-the-ear aids
  • completely-in-the-canal aids
  • behind-the-ear aids
  • eyeglass aids
  • body aids

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a process where we help you retrain your brain to ignore the sound of your tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and to achieve a level in which you are not aware of and/or annoyed by it. This approach is not a quick fix or a cure, and it does not involve drugs or surgery. Also, it does not work for everyone, but it has resulted in significant improvement for most people who are looking for help.

You should plan to spend approximately two hours with us during your initial appointment. Our clinic procedure is a team effort, so you will be seen by more than one healthcare professional during this visit.

Central Auditory Processing Tests

A child who has difficulty processing sound has difficulty understanding speech when distractions such as classroom noise are present, even if hearing is normal. We offer evaluation, counseling, and other intervention approaches to help the child cope with the problem.

Diagnostic Hearing Tests

Suspected hearing loss should be diagnosed by both a doctor and an audiologist. In addition to physically examining the ear, we use hearing tests to determine the type and extent of hearing loss.

These hearing tests may include:

  • the pure tone hearing test
  • tympanogram
  • auditory brainstem response testing
  • otoacoustic emissions testing
  • electrocochleography

If you come to us with a hearing problem, our doctors may perform other tests, depending on your age and the problem. Once we determine the type and severity of hearing loss, we can begin treatment. Hearing aids and other amplifying devices can improve hearing for most people who have a hearing loss.

Neonatal Hearing Screens

Infants need screening for hearing loss so that corrective measures, such as hearing aids, can be started during early speech and language development. Current technologies make it possible for newborn babies to be tested.

It is especially important to test infants who have the following high-risk factors for hearing loss:

  • family history of hearing loss
  • perinatal infection
  • craniofacial abnormalities
  • low birth weight
  • hyperbilirubinemia
  • bacterial meningitus
  • severe asphyxia
  • persistent fetal circulation

Educating parents and primary care doctors is important for early identification and treatment of infants with severe hearing loss.

Otoacoustic Emissions Testing

Our audiologists perform otoacoustic emissions testing (OAE), a relatively new clinical tool for assessing hearing loss. OAEs are low-intensity sounds produced by the inner ear that can be detected by a sensitive microphone placed in the ear canal.

Middle Ear Infections (Otitis Media)

Acute otitis media is a middle ear infection that results in an earache often followed a day or two later by drainage from the ear. Antibiotics are the main treatment. If the child develops repeated bouts of acute otitis media over a relatively short period of time, insertion of ventilating tubes is recommended.

Otitis media with effusion is fluid collection in the middle ear. The condition causes a stuffy sensation in the ear and a mild to moderate hearing loss. Often otitis media with effusion will resolve without treatment. If it does not get better by itself, ventilating tubes may be needed.

Hearing loss, either occasional or frequent, in young children with otitis media may result in delayed speech or learning disabilities.

Having trouble speaking clearly can prevent a person from fully communicating with family and friends.

Our licensed and certified audiologists and speech/language pathologists work with other WVU doctors to provide the highest quality patient care. With our help, you can achieve a level of communicating that will enrich your life to the fullest.

Closed Head Injury

Communication skills often change after a person suffers a closed head injury. Common difficulties can include:

  • slurred speech
  • difficulty forming thoughts
  • acting impulsively
  • difficulty concentrating
  • poor memory

The Speech Clinic at the Physician Office Center offers speech/language therapy to patients while they are hospitalized and also as out-patients after they go home. Family members are included to encourage use of newly learned skills in everyday situations.

Laryngectomy Rehabilitation

If you have cancer of the voice box and must have a laryngectomy, you will be seen by a speech/language pathologist for counseling before surgery. Family members are also encouraged to attend. The pathologist will review the changes that will occur during your surgery and discuss options for communicating after the surgery.

Speech therapy begins several days after surgery. You will be provided with an electrolarynx and taught how to use it. You also will be given instructions about post-operative care and about changes to your senses and abilities, such as smelling, tasting, and swallowing.

A tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) is a surgical technique that directs air from the lungs up through the esophagus, allowing you to produce sound and, ultimately, speech. A TEP can be done at the time of the cancer surgery or several months later.

Once the site is healed, a speech pathologist fits your prosthetic device, works with you to achieve good voicing, and trains you how to take care of the device.

Spasmodic Dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia is a voice disorder characterized by a strained and strangled-sounding voice.

Along with speech therapy, the treatment for spasmodic dysphonia used today is botulinum toxin injected into the vocal cords. This therapy provides temporary relief and lessens the strained voice quality. Most people require repeat injections every 3 to 6 months.

Voice Clinic

We use our voices every day and take them for granted as our means of communicating. However, voicing is a highly coordinated activity. Typical complaints about voices include a hoarse or raspy voice or a change in vocal quality.

Common problems that may affect your voice include:

  • vocal cord nodules
  • polyps
  • contact ulcers
  • vocal cord paralysis
  • papillomas
  • cancer of the larynx

A thorough evaluation is important to learn what the problem is and what to do about it.

If you have voice problems, you will be evaluated using a technique that allows us to see detail and subtle movements of the vocal cords that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

The examination is videotaped and reviewed later by you and your physician. This video provides visual feedback, helping you to understand your vocal cord problem, plus it can help you stick with your treatment plan.

Together, you, your doctor, and your speech/language pathologist work to obtain your best possible voice quality.

Morgantown ENT Clinic – Suncrest

Address

1065 Suncrest Towne Center Morgantown, WV 26505

Otolaryngology – Physician Office Center

Address

1 Medical Center Drive Morgantown, WV 26506