The goal of the Audiology Clinic is to maximize the communication abilities of individuals with hearing loss by providing comprehensive diagnostic services and state of the art treatments for hearing loss and related disorders. The Audiology Clinic serves patients of all ages and encourages family involvement throughout the entire process. Graduate student clinicians in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders conduct the assessment and intervention services. These services are supervised by state licensed and nationally certified audiologists.
An audiological evaluation is a series of diagnostic procedures used to determine the type, degree, and configuration of hearing loss. The goal of this evaluation is to develop a treatment plan that is unique to the patient’s needs in order to improve their communication skills. Individuals may be self-referred or referred by a physician or other professional.
The following sites are recommended to further educate you about hearing loss and the procedures for evaluating hearing impairment:
Assistive listening devices
For many individuals, the use of hearing aids will enhance their communication and listening skills. However, hearing aids alone cannot be expected to solve all difficulties that result from hearing loss. Assistive devices can help to make interpersonal and group communication more manageable in noisy environments, in situations with poor acoustics or where distance is a factor. Assistive listening devices include any device, except hearing aids, which help a hearing impaired person communicate more effectively through direct sound amplification, or visual or vibrotactile alerts. Assistive devices include an array of technology: television and telephone aids, alerting or signaling devices, and personal or large area assistive listening systems. Assistive devices are also known as auxiliary aids, assistive listening devices or ALDs.
Auditory processing disorders
Auditory processing disorders (APD) can be observed in both children and adults. Simply put, these are disorders in which the person appears as if they have a peripheral hearing loss but have normal hearing on the audiogram, or pure tone test. People with auditory processing disorders may have deficits in processing of auditory information in a number of ways: they may have difficulty listening when background noise is present, difficulty with “filling in” missing auditory information, problems with combining information between the two ears (called dichotic listening), and issues with the timing of auditory information, just to provide a few examples. These types of problems may result in the listener struggling to hear in less than optimal situations, not being able to understand non-native speakers of their language, and struggling with people who speak rapidly, among other deficits. Auditory processing disorders can be the result of a developmental delay, a disorder of the central auditory nervous system (e.g. related to a head injury or illness), or a “wiring” issue thought to have a genetic component.
Auditory processing disorders are assessed by audiologists as part of an interdisciplinary team approach. The diagnosis of auditory processing disorder is under the scope of practice of the profession of audiology. It is a low-incidence diagnosis and other types of causes for the suspected auditory difficulties should be ruled out prior to implementing an auditory processing evaluation. In children, testing is most effective at age 7 or older. Prior to testing, peripheral hearing loss should be ruled out. In addition, children that have been identified as being on the autism spectrum are not appropriate for this type of testing. Normal cognitive functioning should be established prior to seeking an auditory processing assessment.
The auditory processing assessment is done to determine if an auditory processing disorder is present, and if so, to determine the parameters of the disorder in order to guide management. Case history information provided by referral sources, school, and family all contribute to the assessment. The assessment is designed to “tax” the auditory system in order to make it work under less than optimal conditions and to determine the ability of the auditory system to be flexible under these conditions. The assessment takes about 2 hours and provides insight into the types of auditory processing deficits present and the impact of these deficits on academics or the work environment. Recommendations are generated from the assessment that helps to link the diagnosis to treatment and management. The management of auditory processing disorders can be categorized in three areas: modification of the listening environment, often with the use of assistive listening technology; direct treatment for the disorder; and development of compensatory strategies and techniques.
Custom hearing protection and swim molds
Custom hearing protection (earplugs) and swim molds are available through the Northern Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Both custom hearing protection and swim molds are custom made to fit the size and shape of an individual’s ears. This promotes a comfortable and proper fit. Therefore, an earmold impression appointment is necessary to make impressions that will be sent to the manufacturer.
Hearing protection should be worn in environments that expose an individual to loud sounds to prevent noise-induced hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss should also wear hearing protection in noisy environments to protect residual hearing. Sources of noise exposure include concerts, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, machinery in the work place, guns, etc. Custom musician earplugs are also available.
Swim molds may be used in situations in which one wishes to keep water out of his or her ears, such as swimming or bathing. Swim molds are often recommended by physicians for patients who have had tubes placed in the eardrums or have conditions in which water should be kept out of the ears.
Custom hearing protection and swim molds are available in a variety of colors. Solid colors or a multi-colored swirl pattern may be chosen.
For more information on noise-induced hearing loss, please visit
Hearing aid sales and service
The Northern Arizona University Speech Language Hearing Clinic offers entry level and high-end digital hearing aid technology in a variety of styles from many different manufacturers including Phonak, Unitron, GN Resound and more. We prescribe and fit hearing aids to persons of all ages. Patients and their families will be provided extensive counseling on the care and use of their new hearing aids to ensure maximum benefit. Follow up hearing aid checks are required and help to verify an appropriate fitting and are essential to the success of the new hearing aid user.
Repair services for all makes of hearing aids are provided, even for those hearing aids we did not fit.
Free hearing aid consultations are also available for anyone who has had their hearing evaluated elsewhere, as long as it has been within the past 6 months.