Dr. Bittar employs an audiologist, Mira D’Souza Au.D, CCC-A, to help him diagnosis hearing loss in patients. Our office uses standardized testing equipment and procedures to determine the exact cause of your hearing loss, including:
To evaluate your hearing, our office uses pure tone air and bone conduction audiometry, speech audiometry and middle-ear analysis. These procedures are done on adults and children, with modified play and observational audiometry used on our youngest patients. These tests help us to differentiate the cause of your hearing loss and whether it can be treated with surgery or hearing aids. The different types of hearing loss are:
–Sensorineural Hearing Loss – This type of hearing loss is the result of damage to the inner ear, the cochlea, but can also include damage or pathology of the auditory nerve and brainstem. This type of hearing loss is permanent and can only be treated with hearing aids.
–Conductive Hearing Loss – This kind of hearing loss is the result of an ear infection or other active disease or condition affecting the middle-ear, either the tympanic membrane (eardrum) or the ossicles (middle-ear bones). This kind of hearing loss, while seen primarily in children, can also occur in adults, and can usually be treated effectively with medication or surgery.
–Mixed Hearing Loss – This type of hearing loss occurs when someone has a permanent or sensorineural hearing loss, and also has a middle-ear condition causing a medically treatable worsening of hearing, or conductive component. This can be caused by an active middle-ear infection, or Otosclerosis, or the hardening of the ossicles (middle-ear bones). While the conductive components can be treated, the person will still have a lingering, sensorineural (permanent) hearing loss that can be treated with hearing aids.
In addition, we also test patients suffering from dizziness/vertigo and balance disorders via Videonystagmography testing (VNG). This test procedure involves computerized measurements of eye-movement via goggles, positional testing, including Dix-Hallpike maneuvers, and caloric stimulation of the ear canals with warm and cool water to measure how your balance system is functioning. These tests allow Dr. Bittar to determine the cause of your dizziness/vertigo problems and help him to determine the correct course of action to help you feel better.
AUDITORY BRAINSTEM RESPONSE (ABR)
For patients that have an asymmetrical hearing loss (a greater degree of hearing loss in one ear versus the other ear), or a unilateral hearing loss, further testing may be required to rule out a benign growth on the brainstem, going from the ears to the brain; this may be the underlying cause of the different degrees of hearing loss. This test uses electrodes connected to various points on your forehead to measure the responses coming off of the auditory brainstem. Dr. Bittar uses these results to determine if further testing is required, including CT scan and/or MRI to further evaluate the auditory pathways going from the ears to the brain.
Many of our patients come in complaining about ringing or buzzing in their ears, a condition known as tinnitus. This condition is most often seen in conjunction with hearing loss, either in both or only one ear, and it is often the result of a history of noise exposure a person may have had throughout their life. While there is no “cure” for tinnitus, Dr. Bittar and our audiologist can offer effective counseling and coping strategies for dealing with tinnitus. Since tinnitus is often seen with a sensorineural hearing loss, many hearing aids on the market today offer tinnitus masking therapy as a program in the hearing aid. Two such hearing aids on the market are the Widex Mind with Zen and the Siemens Micon.
Our office offers the full line of hearing aid technology, from the top of the line to entry level hearing aids, all designed to accommodate any lifestyle. All hearing aids sold in our office, including the entry level technology, come with a three year warranty, covering repairs and loss and damage, and a three year supply of batteries. Hearing aid manufacturers that we work with include Siemens, Widex, Phonak, Unitron and Starkey. Our audiologist stays informed and is constantly being trained in new advances in technology, as every hearing aid manufacturer updates their lines of products annually. So, if you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss that can be helped with hearing aids, you can rest assured that our office will be able to fit you with the most up-to-date technology on the market. We also offer financing options via Care Credit.