Audiologists & Hearing Tests
Getting to know your hearing health experts
Audiologists are professional hearing experts in a distinguished and highly regulated field. In Canada, the profession is regulated and managed by CASLPO. In America the profession is managed by the American Academy of Audiology. Audiologists’ expertise ranges from testing and treating hearing and balance difficulties to leading the way in hearing loss prevention, education, and research into the exciting possibilities of hearing conservation and restoration. Audiologists work with all ages from infants to the elderly.
How can an Audiologist help me?
Our audiologists are hearing professionals, and our aim is to support good hearing health for you and your loved ones. Prevention of hearing loss is an important aspect of our vision.
Audiologists assess, diagnose, and provide treatment for hearing difficulties including:
• Inner and outer ear hearing problems
• Auditory processing disorders
• Noise sensitivities
• Balance issues
• Referral of patients for issues requiring medical or surgical treatment
As audiologists our mission is to get to the root of your hearing problem and provide answers, solutions and or rehabilitation options in a timely and supportive fashion. Our audiologists are trained in effective counselling techniques, and these will help transform your rehabilitation process.
We assess and prescribe appropriate remedial measures including hearing aids and assistive listening devices. This may include taking mouldings for hearing aids that are fully customised to the needs of each individual.
What training is required to become an audiologist?
A master’s degree or doctorate in audiology from an approved College of Audiology (there are five approved programmes in Canada) is required to become an audiologist. The Master’s degree will require two to three years of intensive study and will include a minimum of 350 hours of clinical practice under supervision. Further post-graduate clinical experience is also required before the title audiologist can be conferred.
A Ph.D. in audiology will require an additional two years of study and this can open up the door to ground-breaking academic and research possibilities.
Audiologists also undergo a comprehensive training in counselling techniques to help in the rehabilitation process.
Ongoing and regular professional development is obligatory and this ensures that your audiologist is up to date with all the latest developments in the fast moving world of audiology.
Registration with an approved regulatory body is required in order to practise audiology. In Ontario, audiologists must be registered with CASLPO.
What tests do audiologists do?
An Audiologist has a range of tools available to quickly and accurately diagnose your hearing or balance problems. Essentially all testing is designed to determine whether your hearing falls into the normal range and if not which frequencies are affected and how severely.
A typical testing programme may involve:
• Behavioural assessment
• Inspection of the middle ear and ear drum with an otoscope
• Electroacoustic testing
• Electrophysiologic testing
Standardized testing procedures and calibrated instruments ensure that all test results are reliable. Your audiologist is trained to accurately and quickly interpret these detailed test results. The audiologist may also test speech patterns and your ability to hear in noisy situations.
You can read about some of the tests you may encounter in more detail below.
Pure Tone Audiometry
One of the most commonly used tests is known as Pure Tone Audiometry. This test measures the levels of air and bone conductivity across eight standard frequencies ranging from 250 Hz to 8,000 Hz. The results, plotted on an audiogram indicate the patient’s hearing sensitivity at each frequency level.
Auditory Brainstem Response Test (ABR)
This safe and painless test is perfect for testing small children or those who may not be able to give accurate verbal feedback. Electrodes placed on the child’s head measure the bravewave responses to a series of clicks and hissing sounds. This test is perfect for identifying clients who may need further testing.
House of Hearing is proud to announce that we have some of the most advanced ABR testing facilities available.
Bone conduction test
The bone conduction test is another important measure of your hearing health and it may indicate whether the problems originate in conducting sound waves from the outer to the middle ear or are an issue with sensorineural hearing loss (originating in the cochlea or auditory nerve/brain stem).
This test measures air pressure within the ear and gives the audiologist an indication of how well structures in the ear are working. This test is particularly useful for diagnosing issues with perforated eardrums and glue ear.
Pre-employment hearing test may form a critical component of the interview process and also serve as a useful benchmark for evaluating your hearing as you age.
What does CASLPO mean (after your audiologists’ names)?
CASLPO stands for the College of Audiologists and Speech-language Pathologists of Ontario. Membership of CASLPO is compulsory for any audiologist or speech-language pathologist who wishes to practise in Ontario.
CASLPO is granted the authority under the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Act of 1991 to do the following:
• Establish the levels of education required to be an audiologist. This includes reviewing and verifying that University degree programmes cover the core competencies required to be an audiologist.
• Provide compulsory quality assurance programmes for members. This includes compulsory requirements for ongoing professional development to ensure your audiologist is up to date with the most recent technological advances.
• Establish professional and ethical standards for audiologists. These standards cover issues of professional relations, best test practices, service delivery, hygiene, confidentiality, and all other aspects of audiology best practice.
• Provide transparent complaint and discipline processes to ensure its members maintain the highest professional standards. The authority granted to the College under provincial law requires the college to place the health and safety of the public at the forefront of its obligations.
In other words, CASLPO works hard to ensure only the very best audiologists are working for your hearing care.
What about our support team?
Our support team includes Hearing Instrument Specialists who provide invaluable support for our audiologists. Our hearing instrument specialists bring additional expertise in the field of hearing aid technology and hearing testing, and are active members of the Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners, Ontario (AHIP).