What is an Auditory Processing Disorder Test?
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Testing is a battery of subtests that provides a description of a child’s auditory strengths and weaknesses, rather than simply indicating the presence or absence of a disorder. This testing allows for more effective deficit-specific management and can influence recommendations for management for educational based, home based, and even medical based concerns. The evaluation itself takes approximately 2 hours to complete. There are a few important notes to remember when an APD test is requested: the child must be minimally 7 years old, and we require the most recent Speech Language Pathology reports (completed within the last 2 years) and the most recent Educational Psychologist report (again, within the last 2 years)
The battery of subtests consists of an initial hearing evaluation, followed by the following subtests: Competing Words testing, Competing Sentences testing, Low Pass Filtered Speech, Dichotic Digits test, Pitch Pattern Testing, Auditory Continuous Performance Test (ACPT), Listening in spatialized noise (LiSN), and the GAP Detection Test.
Some of the results we are looking for include: ruling out attention related concerns, hearing ability in surrounding noise, binaural integration and separation, auditory closure, pattern perception/temporal sequencing & linguistic labeling. Additionally, we are looking for results in duration discrimination, temporal ordering, and temporal resolution.
Generally speaking, you can sit in with your child for the first portion of the evaluation and once the audiologist confirms that the testing can continue, everyone but the child and the audiologist will be asked to leave the room while further subtests are completed. Once this is completed (usually an hour) the parent/guardian will be brought back into the room to go over the results with the audiologist. A formal written comprehensive findings report will follow - usually within the next four weeks.
What is Tinnitus Retraining Therapy?
17% of the American population or about 44 million people in the United States have tinnitus. Of that 44 million people, 8 million of them considered their tinnitus to be a significant problem and approximately 2 million considered it to be debilitating. According to the Tinnitus Association of Canada, the numbers are proportionately similar in Canada.
At Eastside Audiology and Rehabilitation (EAR) Inc., Dr. Debbie Davis Au.D is one of a small number of audiologists in Canada that is trained to provide Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT). She was trained directly under the supervision of Dr. Pawel Jastreboff of Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Jastreboff is the developer of TRT and with his neuropsychological model of tinnitus and hyperacusis; the goal of TRT is to retrain the brain to ignore the sound of your tinnitus so that you will no longer be bothered or annoyed by your tinnitus. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy depends upon the natural ability of the brain to "habituate" a signal, to filter it out on a subconscious level so that it does not reach conscious perception. Importantly, habituation is a passive event, in contradistinction to "ignoring" something, which is an active event. Thus habituation requires no effort. People frequently habituate many auditory signals - we initially hear sounds from, for instance, air conditioners, computer fans, refrigerators, and gentle rain only to have their signals rapidly disappear from conscious awareness unless we purposely seek them out. (A few seconds after a refrigerator "kicks on," we no longer "hear" it.) The two elements that air conditioners, computer fans, refrigerators, and gentle rain have in common are that the signals they emit have no importance, and that the signals are not perceived as "loud."
The signal of tinnitus has great meaning to the tinnitus sufferer, and it is, indeed, perceived as loud. The entire thrust of TRT is (1) to remove the meaning from the signal and (2) to convert it from a loud sound to a soft sound - so that it can be naturally and effortlessly habituated. More specifically TRT is a method of retraining the brain to process the loud meaningful tinnitus signal ... as a signal that is not loud and not meaningful - so that the tinnitus can be naturally and effortlessly habituated. Thus, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy is a protocol for the facilitation of habituation.
Prior to commencement of any TRT, medical clearance is recommended so that any form of tinnitus that may be medically or surgically treatable can be ruled out. It is important to note that TRT is not a quick fix. It typically takes 12-24 months for the brain to habituate (tune out) the tinnitus signal. TRT is a treatment and is not a cure. Consequently, there are no guarantees, but over 80% of TRT patients have reported significant improvement. The entire process may take up to two years to complete but patients frequently start seeing some improvement in as little as a few months. Once habituation is achieved, further intervention is normally not required.
If you suffer from tinnitus, you can get your quality of life back again. Give us a call at (306) 359-3277ph to see if TRT is the solution for you.