​Overview of the Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program

The Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi helps patients who are experiencing any degree of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is the most common sensory weakness, affecting up to 5% of the world’s population. According to the WHO, by 2050 almost 2.5 billion people will have some degree of hearing loss, of which 700 million will require rehabilitation.

In addition to significantly impacting quality of life, hearing loss has been associated with increased rates of depression as well as worsening of dementia in affected people.

The multidisciplinary team at the Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program consists of experienced audiologists, as well as ear, nose and throat doctors and speech therapists, who are dedicated to helping those experiencing hearing loss to improve their hearing and overall quality of life. 

What We Treat

There are two main types of hearing loss: 

  • Conductive hearing loss: This happens when sounds do not reach the inner ear and can be caused by a variety of things including cerumen (wax) in the ear canal, tympanic membrane perforation, middle ear infections, or problems with the ossicles. Conductive hearing loss can often be treated surgically. 
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Caused by poor function of the small cells in the inner ear or of the nerves of hearing. It can be caused by exposure to loud noises, age and genetics, viral infection, or in rare cases tumors of the nerves of hearing and the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is typically treated with amplification with hearing aids, and, in severe cases, cochlear implantation.

When both a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss are present, it is called mixed hearing loss.

Diagnosis & Treatment 

The team at the Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program are experts in the assessment and management of hearing loss and will work together to develop the best plan for you, that has your entire family in mind.

Diagnosis of Hearing Loss

Our highly specialized audiologists use a variety of tests to assess your hearing and help determine the cause of your hearing loss. On your first visit, you will be evaluated by an ear, nose and throat doctor who will examine your ears and make sure there are no obstructions or infections. Once cleared, you will be referred for testing.

  • Audiogram: This is the most basic and essential hearing test. You will be sitting comfortably in a soundproof room, with small earphones in your ears. You will be asked to indicate when you can hear a sound, in order to assess the level of your hearing. You might also have to repeat some words back to your audiologists, to assess your speech perception function, a more advanced function of the ear.
  • Tympanogram: A tympanogram is also a commonly performed test. It allows audiologists to measure the pressure in your middle ear and can give an indication of the presence of middle ear fluids, infections, or eustachian tube dysfunction. It can also be used to measure the function of the small muscles in your middle ear.
  • Otoacoustic emission testing: Otoacoustic emissions are small vibrations that are emitted by the hair cells in your inner ear. This test involves placing a microphone in your ear to detect these vibrations in response to different sounds, which allows audiologists to check the health of these small cells in the cochlea.
  • Auditory brainstem response testing (ABR): ABR testing is a way to assess the integrity of your hearing pathway. You will be seated with earphones in your ears, and small sticky pads on your forehead to measure the signal as it passes from your ear to the hearing center in the brain.

Treatment of Hearing Loss

Once the nature and cause of your hearing loss is determined, our team will discuss the best treatment or rehabilitation options with you. If you have a hearing loss due to a perforation in your eardrum or a problem in the ossicles in your middle ear, surgery might be offered.

  • Hearing aids
    Hearing aids are an essential part of rehabilitation for sensorineural hearing loss. They have been shown to significantly help with hearing loss and improve quality of life for users. With the current technology available, hearing aids have become very powerful whilst getting smaller and smaller.
    Our hearing rehabilitation specialists will help you to select the hearing aid that is most appropriate for you. They will also follow-up with you closely to make sure that you are constantly receiving the most benefit from your hearing aid.
  • Cochlear implants
    Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that are implanted under the skin in patients with severe hearing loss, who are not benefiting from hearing aids. They have been in use for over 40 years and can offer drastic improvements in quality-of-life.
    Cochlear implant surgery is a very straightforward procedure that takes less than 2 hours, with patients going home the same day. Our team of implant specialists work together to ensure that you get the best outcome from your cochlear implant.
  • Speech therapy/aural rehabilitation after cochlear implants
    Aural rehabilitation can improve your skills when talking with others and can help you learn how to listen and understand the new sounds that come from your cochlear implants. The first step is to meet with a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for an evaluation. At this appointment, the SLP will check what skills you have and what skills you need help with, by conducting a series of formal and informal tests.

The SLP will then design a program for you, that will include exercises that can help you:

  • Understand the difference between sounds and whole words
  • Understand new sounds that have not been heard before
  • Read along and follow someone else’s speech while they read aloud
  • Notice when you or someone you are talking to does not understand what is said
  • Learn when to change your implant’s setting to improve your understanding
  • Learn how to set up the phone to work with your implant
  • Enjoy music
  • Learn how your implant affects the people around you, and help your family and friends learn about your implant
  • Make your speech clearer
  • Learn and practice skills that will make you more comfortable when talking.

Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program Caregivers

Caregivers at the Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation Program are part of a dedicated, multidisciplinary team that support patients and their families as they embark on hearing loss treatment or rehabilitation. Caregivers involved in the patient journey include: 

  • Ear, nose and throat doctors
  • Audiologists
  • Speech therapists

VIEW ALL DOCTORS WHO CAN HELP WITH Hearing Loss and Rehabilitation

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