The Hearing Clinic

Susan Snyder, Au.D., Program Director

Hearing Screenings

The Clinic goes go to area schools and provides assistance with annual hearing screenings at schools, health fairs and other sites.

Audiological Evaluations

Also complete audiological evaluations including immittance audiometry are performed in the Clinic.  In conjunction with these services an emphasis on auditory training and aural rehabilitation is provided on site.

Auditory Training and Aural Rehabilitation

The audiologist and speech language pathologist provide auditory training (AT) and aural rehab (AR) for individuals with hearing loss and cochlear implants.

The Central Auditory Processing Deficit (CAPD) Clinic

Central Auditory Processing (CAP), as Musiek states, is “how well the ear talks to the brain, and how well the brain understands what the ear tells it.”  The University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Duquesne helps by offering individual auditory training lessons for children with CAP difficulties. The goal is to improve listening skills by addressing auditory memory, auditory attention span, attending to speech in noise, binaural listening skills, temporal processing skills as well as other auditory processing skills.  “Listening lessons” incorporate basic principles of auditory training as well as innovative application of computer/audiometer based instruction and strategies based on current research.

What is Central Auditory Processing?

Auditory Processing (AP) involves a range of learning/thinking processes that require a listener to analyze, store, retrieve, and use information they hear.  AP is a descriptive term for the seemingly simple act of “listening”.  Up to 90% of a child’s school day may involve listening, and it is not at all simple. Effective listening includes following oral instruction as fast as it is presented, understanding it, remembering it, and responding to it appropriately, while ignoring or filtering out background noise that competes for attention.  Children with APD are often described as inattentive, “off task”, and impatient: all explainable behaviors when one is struggling with listening difficulties.

CAPD may results or coexist with other central nervous system disabilities; AD(H)D,  learning disabilities, speech and language impairment, and developmental disabilities.

What Makes Our Clinic Unique?

All diagnostic CAPD evaluations are performed by an audiologist uniquely qualified to diagnose central auditory processing disorders.  In our Clinic the therapy is also provided by the audiologist and a graduate student. Due to the nature of CAPD and the fact that processing is a continuum, expressive and receptive language issues might also be present. The audiologist works in close association with our Child Language Specialty Clinic to ensure that these issues are addressed and remediated as well. This close working relationship allows the best possible care for the client.

Children at Risk

Elementary aged school children with APD may:

  • Demonstrate greater difficulty with verbal than non verbal tasks, with verbal IQ lower than performance IQ
  • Behave as if a hearing loss is present, despite normal hearing acuity (especially in noisy environments)
  • Demonstrate significant scatter, or fluctuation in ability levels, across tests of speech, language or cognitive processes, with weaknesses in those areas considered to be more auditory in nature
  • Exhibit a delay in the content, use, or form of language
  • Exhibit articulation errors that persist longer than is usual
  • Be easily distractible
  • Refuse to participate in classroom discussions or conversely, offer inappropriate or off-topic contributions
  • Exhibit difficulty following multiple step directions
  • Demonstrate poor reading or spelling skills
  • Have a history of chronic ear infections, head trauma or other ear or brain related conditions
  • Exhibit poor music or singing skills
  • Require a high degree of external organization in the classroom to begin and complete tasks
  • Exhibit poor social communication skills or difficulty making or keeping friends
  • Rely heavily on memorization when learning new information or skills
  • Perform better when auditory information is augmented with visual or tactile cues

Bellis,T, (2002) When the Brain Can’t Hear. New York: Pocket Books, 98-99