Hearing loss is an invisible condition that isolates people from family and friends. The Audiology Center at The UVM Medical Center, conveniently located at the Fanny Allen Campus, is where we help re-connect people with hearing loss to the world around them.
Hearing Loss Care at UVM Medical Center
We know that hearing loss can make engaging with those you love difficult. Our goal is to quickly and accurately evaluate the cause and severity of your hearing loss and find a treatment that can help you hear better. When you come to The Audiology Center, you can expect:
Preventative education - Taking steps to prevent hearing loss is the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen. We offer preventative services and community education to minimize the chances of developing hearing loss.
Expertise - Your hearing evaluation and hearing aid fitting will be conducted by certified and licensed audiologists. They are specialists who approach your care with an in-depth understanding of hearing loss.
Comprehensive services - The Audiology Center performs diagnostic hearing evaluations for children and adults. We emphasize meeting the unique needs of each age group, from birth to the eldest members of the community. The following services are provided:
- Newborn hearing screenings and Non-Sedated Auditory Brainstem Response evaluations for infants.
- Hearing aid selection and fittings.
- Comprehensive audiological management, with focus on continuity of care.
- Hearing aids and alternative listening devices dispensing, as well as hearing preservation and conservation.
Specialization - For those patients that need specialized diagnostic and rehabilitative services, our Otolaryngology (Ears, Nose, and Throat) doctors expertly treat conditions related to hearing loss for both pediatric and adult patients.
Cutting-edge care - Our audiologists use the most up-to-date technology to diagnose hearing loss. For instance, our video otoscope can take video of the inside of the ear and help us create a detailed diagnosis that will provide better treatment options.
Common Hearing Loss Conditions
At The Audiology Center, we diagnose, evaluate, and treat hearing loss caused by a variety of factors in both children and adults.
Hearing Loss in Children
Hearing loss is the number one birth defect in America. Hearing loss can also be acquired later in childhood due to medical conditions, exposure to loud noise, and other types of trauma. Early detection and intervention are vital in the successful treatment of hearing loss in children.
The Audiology Center is certified by the Vermont Department of Health as a leader in evaluation and treatment of infant/child hearing loss. We manage the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening program for all babies born or cared for at UVM Medical Center, and regionally.
This screening program allows us to diagnose hearing loss at the earliest possible age. Our goal is to minimize the impact of hearing loss on speech, language and cognitive development in infants and young children through early intervention.
Hearing Loss in Adults
Adults can have hearing loss for a variety of reasons. For some, it runs in the family. For others, exposure to everyday noises, such as listening to loud music or using a lawnmower, can damage the structures of the inner ear. It can be gradual or sudden.
Hearing loss of any type or degree can lead to withdrawal from others and has been linked to depression and anxiety. There is evidence that older adults who have untreated hearing loss may be at higher risk for developing dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Tinnitus is common for people who have hearing loss, but can also be present when there is no hearing loss. The most common cause is exposure to loud noise.
This noise can be a sudden, intense exposure (such as from a gun blast) or long-term exposure (working around loud machinery). It can also be caused by ear infections, medications, and many medical conditions.
There is no cure, but there are steps people can take to reduce the impact of tinnitus. Many patients who have hearing loss report that tinnitus is less obvious when they use hearing aids. Some people have found improvement by completing certain types of auditory therapies.
Earwax Buildup or Blockage
Earwax can build up or block your ear canal and affect your hearing. This condition happens to people of all ages but fortunately is resolved by removing the earwax.
Hearing Loss Diagnosis
If you have gradual hearing loss, you may not be aware of it, especially if it has happened over time. A diagnostic hearing evaluation is the first stage of determining the type and degree of your hearing loss. The audiologists at The University of Vermont Medical Center are highly skilled, with many years of combined clinical experience and access to the most advanced testing equipment.
The audiologist will explain the test results and guide you on a path towards any treatment, communicating with your doctor along the way. Hearing health, and protecting what hearing we have, is essential. We provide education about how to prevent or reduce the possibility of further hearing loss.
A separate service, Otolaryngology (Ears, Nose, and Throat) Audiologists perform specialized hearing loss diagnostic and rehabilitative services, such as installing a cochlear implant.
Hearing Loss Treatments
Once you have been diagnosed by one of our audiologists, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will help you hear better again. Options at The University of Vermont Medical Center include:
Earwax removal - earwax can become impacted. Problems can usually be remedied at home, but sometimes professional removal is required.
Hearing aids: the most common treatment for hearing loss, a device placed inside the ear can help improve your hearing. Read below for more information about our hearing aid services.
Cochlear implant: for cases of severe hearing loss. Discuss the risks and benefits of this option with an audiologist and an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
Hearing Aid Prescription and Dispensing Services
If you have hearing loss, you may benefit from using hearing aids. Our audiologists partner with you to ensure you receive the highest quality services. We dispense hearing aids with the latest technology from manufacturers with excellent, longstanding reputations in the field.
We do not represent a particular hearing aid company. We can choose from a wide range of available hearing aids and hearing technologies in order to meet each patient's specific needs. Hearing aids are dispensed on a 45-day trial period and can be returned during this period for a refund, minus a nominal fee.