Audiology

Hearing loss is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. The most common cause of impaired hearing is aging, but hearing loss may be caused by many things, including excessive noise, drugs and heredity.

  • Statistics show that one third of adults over age 60 have hearing loss. By age 75, that number increases to about half.
  • The most common cause of hearing loss in children is infections of the middle ear (otitis media).
  • Many diseases and disorders can cause or contribute to hearing impairment.

People may not realize they are experiencing hearing loss, or may accept their inability to hear clearly as just a part of growing older. Perhaps that is why only about one in five people that could benefit from wearing a hearing aid do so.  

The well-trained and experienced team of Springfield Clinic's Audiology Department wants to ensure that you hear to the absolute best of your ability. They believe hearing is essential to quality of life and make certain that you are carefully evaluated and treated to reach your optimal level of hearing. They offer the latest in hearing technology to deliver improved hearing for patients, as well as hearing aid repair and hearing aid testing.

Screening Guidelines

To maximize the outcome for infants who are deaf or hard of hearing, the hearing of all infants should be screened at no later than one month of age. Those who do not pass screening should have a comprehensive audiological evaluation at no later than three months of age. Infants with confirmed hearing loss should receive appropriate intervention at no later than six months of age from health care and education professionals with expertise in hearing loss and deafness in infants and young children.

Regardless of previous hearing-screening outcomes, all infants with or without risk factors should receive ongoing surveillance of communicative development beginning at two months of age during well-child visits at the doctor's office.

Screen infants and toddlers who have not previously received and passed hearing screening, or if they have indicators associated with congenital or acquired hearing impairment. Such indicators include:
  • Concerns regarding hearing, speech, language, and/or developmental delay based on observation and/or standardized developmental screening
  • Birth weight under 3.3 lbs
  • Bacterial meningitis and other infections associated with sensorineural hearing loss
  • Apgar scores of 0–4 at one minute or 0–6 at five minutes
  • Mechanical ventilation lasting five days or longer
  • Head trauma associated with loss of consciousness or skull fracture
  • Family history of hereditary childhood sensorineural hearing loss
  • In utero infection, such as cytomegalovirus, rubella, syphilis, herpes, and toxoplasmosis
  • Recurrent or persistent inflammation of the ear lasting at least three months

Some children may pass an initial hearing screening, but be at risk for fluctuating, delayed-onset, or progressive sensorineural and/or conductive hearing impairment. Those children's hearing should be monitored at least every six months until three years of age, and at regular intervals thereafter dependent on the risk factor.

Preschool children are screened as needed, requested, or mandated, or when they have conditions that place them at risk for hearing impairment.

Indicators associated with delayed-onset, progressive or acquired hearing impairment include:

  • Concerns regarding hearing, speech, language, and/or developmental delay based on observation and/or standardized developmental screening
  • Family history of hereditary childhood hearing loss
  • In-utero infection, such as cytomegalovirus, rubella, syphilis, herpes, and toxoplasmosis
  • Bacterial meningitis and other infections associated with sensorineural hearing loss
  • Head trauma associated with loss of consciousness or skull fracture
  • Recurrent or persistent inflammation of the ear lasting at least three months
Screen school-age children on initial entry to school, and annually in kindergarten through third grade, then prior to entering seventh and 11th grades.

Screen school-age children as needed, requested, or mandated. Additionally, children should be screened upon entrance to special education, or grade repetition, or new entry to the school system without evidence of having passed a previous hearing screening, or absence during a previously scheduled screening.

The following risk factors suggest the need for a hearing screening:

  • Parent/care provider, health care provider, teacher, or other school personnel have concerns regarding hearing, speech, language, or learning abilities
  • Family history of late or delayed onset hereditary hearing loss
  • Recurrent or persistent inflammation of the ear lasting at least three months
  • Head trauma with loss of consciousness
  • Reported exposure to potentially damaging noise levels or ototoxic drugs
  • Screen adults as needed, requested, or when they have conditions that place them at risk for hearing disability (e.g., family history, concern of family member, noise exposure).
  • Screen at least every decade through age 50 and at three-year intervals thereafter

 

Springfield Clinic's Audiology specialists offer complete consultation and management of hearing problems in patients, which includes:

  • Hearing evaluations
  • Hearing testing
  • Hearing screenings for children and adults
  • Proper fitting
  • Testing of hearing aids
  • Repair of hearing aids
  • Fitting of tinnitus makers

Springfield Athlete First in Illinois to Receive Free Hearing Aids Through Special Olympics Healthy Hearing