About Your Hearing

Hearing difficulty is not a minor problem. Nor is it one you have to live with. Wilks Hearing Center is committed to assisting people find the right solutions.

Along with our manufacturers, and other leaders in the field, Wilks Hearing Center seeks to provide information to assist in answering your questions and providing you with important insight.


Types of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss.

Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound does not pass efficiently from the outer ear canal through the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear to the eardrum. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction of sound level or the inability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically.

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Typically, SNHL cannot be corrected medically or surgically. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.

SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or muffled.

Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss, which is referred to as a mixed hearing loss.


Central Auditory Processing Problems

Some children (and adults) with perfectly normal hearing can still have difficulty understanding spoken language. This may be due to subtle deficits in areas of the central nervous system that are involved in decoding sounds.

Standard hearing testing consists of measuring one's ability to hear loudly and clearly enough to follow speech. It fails to determine the individual's ability to understand what is heard, which is especially important during early learning.

Problem areas may be:
  • Difficulty understanding speech in noise or in a classroom
  • Poor auditory attention skills
  • Receptive language difficulties
which can result in
  • Poor school performance
  • Reading and spelling difficulties
  • Distractibility and attention problems
  • Failure to respond to commands
To address this need, qualified audiologists specializing in pediatrics established a protocol to evaluate Central Auditory Processing in school age children and adults.

A standard hearing evaluation is conducted prior to the day of central testing. Although standard hearing evaluations can be conducted even for young infants, frequently the minimum age requirement for central auditory evaluation is 5 years old.

The evaluation consists of responding to various listening tests, which are designed to locate specific areas of possible difficulty. For children, they play listening games with the examiner for about one hour.

Getting Help

Should a central auditory processing problem be detected, specific areas of deficit may be pinpointed. Comprehensive reports can be furnished and to assist your professional in developing a remediation plan. Our Board Certified Audiologists routinely work closely with your
  • Physician
  • Speech/Language Pathologist
  • Reading Specialist
  • Learning Disability Specialist
  • Special Ed. or Resource Room Teacher
  • Classroom Teacher
  • School Psychologist



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