Audiology Questions

GBMC Audiology Support - Questions and Answers

Welcome to Audiology Support questions and answers. If you would like to submit your own question to be answered click here.

For more information on our Audiology Services please visit The Department of Otolaryngology.


Is GBMC an in-network with United Health Care Choice Plus?
 
Yes, we are an in-network provider with United Health Care Choice Plus for hearing aids. We have specific protocols set up in place for making claims with insurance companies so I would encourage you to set up an appointment for a hearing test and hearing aid selection to discuss these protocols with an audiologist. For scheduling, please call 443-849-2142.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St.
Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
"Like Us" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbmcaudiology
Phone: 443-849-2988
FAX: 443-849-8023
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday


Hi, I am a student at Towson University. I am in a deaf studies class and I am doing research for a debate and I have a couple questions for an audiologist if they could just take the time to answer my questions. 1. Do you introduce families with deaf babies to other deaf families (for help or to get advice from other deaf families)? 2. If not, Why? if yes are there disadvantages to that. If you could answer those question that would help a lot. Thank you for your time.

Thanks for your inquiry and we will be happy to respond to your questions.   When we identify babies with hearing loss (with any degree: mild, moderate, profound), the parents are provided with a packet of information, including resources, to take home.  Included within this packet, is a brochure regarding a program called 'Parent Connections'.  This free program is run by the state of Maryland.  It connects parents to other parents of hard-of-hearing or deaf children.  They can connect parents with a parent mentor and also offer support groups for parents too.  We do feel that parent supporting one another is a wonderful resource but we never force a parent to participate in this program.  I hope this helps to answer your question.
 
Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St.
Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
"Like Us" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbmcaudiology
Phone: 443-849-2988
FAX: 443-849-8023
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday


I am a tinnitus patient and am scheduled to have a root canal. What should I do to reduce the bone conduction noise when drilling occurs? Are ear plugs a good idea or will ear plugs create an occlusion effect and make the bone conduction worse? Are ear muffs alone a better choice? What other recommendations do you have?

Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, there is no way to block sound, which is transmitted via bone conduction, to one or both cochlea.  I would not recommend the use of earplugs for this would enhance an occlusion effect.  Your best bet is to wear earmuffs to reduce the sound coming into your ears via air-conduction.  You might also want to listen to some music for distraction purposes.  However, I want you to remember that although the drilling noise may be loud, it is still a relatively short exposure period.  I would not expect your tinnitus to be exacerbated, on a permanent basis, based upon a single root canal. 
 
Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St.
Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
"Like Us" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbmcaudiology
Phone: 443-849-2988
FAX: 443-849-8023
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday


I don't have a lot of technical information, but I am hoping you can help point me in the right direction. I was asked to provide an OT/ sensory screening on a preteen girl who has significant hearing loss and bilateral hearing aids. I watched her rock her head from side to side repetitively for much of the 90 minute observation. From what I know, her hearing loss is due to multi infections as a child. In addition to hearing loss she has mental health challenges. I am trying to determine if her head rocking is purely a sensory seeking strategy, or if there could be something going on requiring further investigation. She does not complain of pain or dizziness. She also hums to herself during these times (leading me to think it is purely sensory seeking, but I want to be sure). Thank you for any suggestion / insight...

Thank you for your inquiry.  I believe that the head rocking and humming you are describing are unrelated to the hearing aids and/or hearing loss.  Unless the patient is experiencing ear discomfort/pain from the hearing aids, and this rocking is an effort to dislodge the aids?  But it sounds like your patient would be able to verbalize a complaint of discomfort, so again this makes me think that your observations are unrelated to her hearing loss/hearing aids.  I think I would want to know if this was a new behavior being observed and if so a referral to a developmental pediatrician and/or neurology may be considered.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St.
Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
"Like Us" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gbmcaudiology
Phone: 443-849-2988
FAX: 443-849-8023
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday


I am a 19 year old musician and I would like to know what ear plugs you would recommend without much of a budget. I would like to preserve my hearing, but the typical foam ear plugs only allow me to hear a muffled sound when I need to hear all the highs and lows of the band I am in.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for your question.  We typically recommend custom musician plugs which come with a filter.  These custom products are $175.00 for the set.  You would need to schedule and appointment for impressions if you are interested.  Our number for scheduling purposes is 443-849-2142. 

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St. Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 443-849-2988 


I wear two hearing aids. These are oticon aids. I have had my ears checked by an ENT and they are fine.(several times) I went went though about 5 sets of aids from oticon and I am still having issues, and everybody thinks I am just complaining. I am hearing lingering sounds, just as microwaves, elevator dings, sometimes fax machines worse in the car when you start it or you forget to put seatbelt on that sound is crazy It just keeps lingering until I get away from it. The feedback has been turned off, ears are fine and they say the aids are fine. I have also been through several earmolds.

When I wear an analog aid which I have when mine is in the shop. I don't have that issue.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for your inquiry.  The issues you are having with your Oticon hearing aids sound like they may be minimized through programming adjustments.  Oticon is not one of our primary vendors, however we do have audiologists on staff who would be able to work on programming adjustments for you.  If you are interested in coming in to discuss these issues, please call 443-840-2142 to make an appointment.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St. Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 443-849-2988 


Why can't I understand natural speech, but I can clearly understand synthesized speech?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for your question.  Natural speech is a dynamic and ever changing stimuli.  Natural speech will constantly change in terms of volume and spectral cues.  In addition, environmental influences will play a role in the degradation of natural speech.  This is most likely the reason you are having difficulties hearing natural speech as opposed to synthesized speech, which may be more controlled.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St. Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 443-849-2988 


As a teenager I had numerous operations to remove tumors from my inner ear. As a result there was permanent damage to the auditory nerve, as well as taste and smell and some facial paralysis on my right side. To make it easier for further exploration all the conductive portions of my right ear were removed over a period of about 4 years. With no conductive pieces left, how would cochlear or baha implantation be effective in restoring the hearing to my right ear.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for question.  It sounds like your hearing loss is all in the right ear so that would make you more appropriate for a BAHA rather than a Cochlear Implant (which is typically only considered for cases of severe to profound hearing loss in BOTH ears).  If you are completely deaf in one ear, the BAHA will send the sound signals via bone conduction from the deaf side to the functioning cochlea on the opposite side.  In this way, you will regain 360 degree sound awareness.  If this is something you are interested in discussing if further detail I would recommend that you start by seeing by one of our ENT physicians who can demonstrate the BAHA to you.  For further information please call us at 443-849-2142.


It seems I am a good candidate for the Baha. May I ask how much the procedure is and if there are any groups who can help me pay for it?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for your question regarding Baha.  Baha is covered by Medicare.  If you are not a medicare patient then we typically send a pre-certification letter to your insurance which basically asks for pre-approval.  The Baha is often covered by insurance if you are a qualifying candidate.  If you would like more information regarding Baha, I would encourage you to set up an appointment with Dr. Brian Kaplan.  His scheduling secretary can be reached at 410-821-5151.  

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St. Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 443-849-2988


I have tinnitus in one ear and I have ear pain and a sensation like having water in my ear. I was examined by a doctor close to my home and told I had hearing loss and was a candidate for hearing aids. I really feel like I need more of an examination. I feel like something is going on with my inner ear. Is there someone at your place who could help?
 
Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for your question.  Based upon your symptoms of unilateral tinnitus, ear pain and ear fullness I would recommend that you have a comprehensive examination by an Otolaryngologist (ENT Physician) followed by hearing testing.  We have several on-site ENT physicians within our practice.  Please call 410-821-5151 or 443-849-2142 to schedule an appointment and for further assistance. 

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist
ENT Associates/GBMC Consultant
6535 North Charles St.
Ste 250
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 443-849-2988
FAX: 443-849-8023


What is the latest on water resistant hearing aids?  Thanks.

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for you question. Many hearing aid vendors are introducing products, which are deemed to be "water resistant." Most of these products are behind-the-ear styles and can better tolerate perspiration and humidity.  However, these products are not water-proof and cannot be saturated with water at this time.  There are a few micro-custom products available which do allow a patient to shower and swim.  If we can be of further assistance, please contact us at 443-849-2142. 


After a hearing test, will I be able to select any manufactures hearing aid or do you only handle one brand?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Thank you for you question.  Following your hearing test, the audiologist will go over the results with you.  A recommendation for hearing aids will be made to you based upon your degree and nature of hearing impairment.  We have the ability to work with several different hearing aid vendors, however we have three vendors which we defer to primarily.  They are GN Resound, Phonak and Oticon.  If you are interested in working with another vendor we would encourage you to discuss this with the audiologist and this may be accommodated.  Thank you for your inquiry.  If we can be of further assistance, please contact us at 443-849-2142. 

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., CCC/A
Clinical Audiologist


Who is a candidate for a hearing aid?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Audiologic test results are used to determine the type, degree and configuration of the patient's hearing loss and this information will help determine hearing aid candidacy.  Motivational factors are also important in determining whether a patient is a candidate for a hearing aid.  It is important to discuss the impact of the hearing loss on everyday life, as well as the patient's perceived need for amplification.  A highly motivated patient is more likely to receive benefit from hearing aid(s).


Should I wear one or two hearing aids?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Whenever hearing levels are the same between ears, we will always recommend that the patient wear two hearing aids.  There is a substantial amount of research, which suggests that the brain is meant to hear in a "balanced" fashion with equal input from both ears.  Occasionally, there are cases of asymmetric hearing levels (hearing levels which are different between ears) in which we might not recommend two hearing aids.


What can I expect initially from my hearing aid?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

Using a hearing aid with success takes patience, as hearing aids will not restore your hearing back to normal.  Becoming adjusted to a hearing aid is a process involving learning to listen in varied listening environments while becoming accustomed to hearing different sounds.  Wearing your hearing aid on a regular and consistent basis will help through the adjustment period.  Eventually, you should feel like your hearing aid has become a part of you.


Can hearing aids make my hearing worse?

Kimberly A. Bank, Au.D., FAAA, CCC/A writes...

When programmed appropriately, hearing aids will not make your hearing worse with normal use. They are usually programmed to provide more amplification of soft level sounds than loud level sounds. They also have a set maximum output level so that sounds leaving the hearing aids do not exceed a certain loudness level. However, you are still responsible for protecting your ears in extremely noisy situations (e.g., music concerts, heavy machinery, hunting).

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