December 2022: Interview with Stéphanie Joseph, Audiologist

1) The difference between an ENT specialist and an Audiologist:

The audiologist is the specialist in the field of ear health to intervene with people of all ages with hearing or vestibular problems.

The expertise can be done for:

  • ensure hearing health
  • prevent sudden hearing problems
  • assess the hearing of people of all ages (from birth to adult) and specify the nature of their hearing disorders
  • evaluate the functions of the vestibular system of people with balance or tinnitus problems
  • assist in the management of excessive earwax and frequent ear infections
  • help people with temporary or permanent hearing disorders and those around them to reduce the barriers associated with these disorders by means such as the use of hearing aids or hearing aids, adaptation of the environment, acoustic design and implementation of communication strategies

2) For which type of problems can I consult an audiologist? 

  • Temporary or permanent hearing loss
  • For tinnitus
  • For removal of excess wax
  • For tailored hearing protection

3) What happens in a consultation with an audiologist?

An initial assessment of audiology allows:

  1. to understand the history (case history) and hearing disorders
  2. to objectively and subjectively determine the hearing
  3. to determine hearing thresholds and assess the type of hearing loss (temporary, permanent, transmission, neurosensory or mixed)
  4. to examine the general condition of the outer and middle ear
  5. to assess the impedance (stiffness) of the eardrum
  6. to evaluate the Stapedia reflexes: the middle ear bone chain is important for hearing well and the audiologist will
  7. to evaluate its functioning
  8. to assess the ability of sound/noise discrimination and sound hypersensitivity

Debrief is discussed at the end of the session to personalise patient support

The tests performed depend on the patient’s complaints and the overall development of the patient, especially in children.

Some patients come for removal of excess wax or for custom plugs (swimming, sleep etc.), in this case it is not always necessary to make a complete assessment.

4) I did a hearing test for my child last year, how often is it advisable to do it?

  • In children, after the first hearing screening at birth, a second test is recommended between 3 and 4 years.
  • In the case of a communication disorder, recurring ear infections and risk factors (hereditary, syndromes…) or simply concerns related to the ears, it is recommended to make an assessment as soon as possible. Depending on the results, it may be advisable to carry out an annual review.

5) What are the signs to look out for?

In Children

  • Communication difficulties or language delays
  • Does not answer when spoken to and tends to ignore you
  • Ask you to repeat
  • Likes when the volume of music or television is high
  • Often leans to one side to listen
  • Rubs his ears
  • Complains of sore ears

In Adults

  • Ask you to repeat
  • Comes closer to the person he/she is speaking to
  • Has difficulty following conversations with others and has more difficulty with ambient noise
  • Complains that people around do not articulate
  • A preference for male versus female voices
  • Has a preferential side to listen
  • Seems distracted, irritable, frustrated
  • The person isolates himself
  • Tinnitus: tinnitus can be the first sign of hearing loss. It can be a hissing, buzzing etc.
  • Often has clogged ears

6) What are the techniques for Ear wax removal?

I use painless methods by micro aspiration or irrigation.

The micro suction:

  • This technique uses a gentle suction to clean the ear using a very fine medical suction tube directed by a specialized ear microscope.

The irrigation:

  • This is a procedure that uses water at body temperature (around 37°C). The water is sent with a syringe at adequate pressure to remove all the wax.
  • It may be recommended to use ear drops in advance of procedures.

To Book an appointment with Mrs Joseph, click here