Conversation. Music. Beautiful sounds from nature. The soundscapes of the world play such an important role in our lives and the reality of hearing loss can be devastating. Fortunately, treatment options are available for patients who are experiencing loss of hearing. Audiologists at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre provide care for both pediatric and adult patients from throughout the region.
“The Audiology Department provides assessment and treatment of hearing loss for patients as young as two months old,” says Lillian Ciona, Clinical Leader, Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation at Hamilton Health Sciences. “They are seen through the Infant Hearing Program and continue to receive care throughout their adult years.”
Specialized testing is required for children who are too young to communicate verbally with clinicians during assessment.
“These patients must be asleep for testing,” Lillian explains. “Wires are taped behind their ears and a clicking sound is fed through earphones. The computer reads the auditory brain response to the noise, which gives us a good picture of the child’s ability to hear.”
Early detection of hearing loss can have significant benefits for the development and growth of pediatric patients.
“We want to identify hearing loss as early as possible in young patients so we can begin proper treatment. Early use of a hearing aid will help achieve the goal of age-appropriate speech and language development.”
Lillian is concerned about increased hearing loss in the young adult population due to lifestyle choices.
“We’re seeing people who are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss from listening to their music too loud, going to concerts or spending a lot of time at clubs. One of our goals is to educate people about the importance of hearing protection. Your ears need to last your entire lifetime.”
The team in the Audiology Department is “passionate about improving the quality of life” for patients and helping them live life to its fullest.
“It’s extremely rewarding to see kids’ faces when they have their hearing aids in for the first time and they start experiencing a larger world. We’re very proud of what we do here.”