The office is equipped with the most advanced hearing diagnostic equipment. A video otoscope is used to look into the ear of each patient before testing to make sure the ear canals are free of any debris such as ear wax or foreign bodies. If significant cerumen is present, then Dr. Lowe will clean the ear (s) using a curette. A digital audiometer is used for hearing testing to determine if the loss is sensorineural, or a type that may be improved medically. Testing is conducted in a special sound treated room to eliminate any noisy distractions.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
A tympanometer is used to assess middle ear function. This is very useful in cases of middle ear infections and other disorders. Many infants and young children suffer from middle ear fluid or significant negative middle ear pressure. Both can be quite uncomfortable. The fluid can often become infected and cause even more discomfort and possibly cause permanent damage if neglected or is not detected. In severe cases the eardrum may rupture. This is nature’s was of relieving the pressure. However, a violent rupture may sometimes not heal well and may require further medical attention. If tympanometry suggests the presence of middle ear fluid, then that will be reported to the referring physician. Often the fluid and/or negative pressure can be resolved with antibiotics/decongestants.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
A special computer from BioLogic Corporation is used to obtain Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAEs) to directly assess outer hair cell integrity in the cochlea. DPOAE testing is extremely helpful in testing infants and patient’s with diminished mental capabilities. There is no reason to wait until a child is three or four years of age to test their hearing. Early detection of hearing impairment is extremely important to ensure proper development of speech and language. DPOAEs are also very helpful in assessing patients with tinnitus (ear noises).