The Hearing and Speech Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center provides evaluation and treatment of adults with both common and complex auditory and balance conditions. We also provide hearing aid and cochlear implant services and fit hearing protection devices. In addition, we perform infant hearing screening and follow-up assessments as needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can develop at any age and may be caused by many different factors. A hearing loss is categorized in 3 different ways:
- Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or the hearing nerve itself becomes damaged. The most common type of hearing loss, it can be a result of aging, exposure to loud noise, injury, disease, ototoxic drugs or an inherited condition. Sensorineural hearing loss is typically not medically or surgically treatable. Most people benefit from the use of hearing aids.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle ear where sound waves are not able to carry all the way through to the inner ear. Sound may be blocked by earwax or a foreign object in the ear canal, the middle ear may be impacted by fluid and infection, or the eardrum may have been injured. For some people, it may be reversed through medical or surgical intervention. Otherwise, hearing aid use may be recommended.
- Mixed hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss vary from person to person but can include:
- Difficulty hearing on the telephone
- Often asking people to repeat themselves
- Difficulty hearing people speaking when there is noise in the background
- Difficulty following a conversation when two or more people talk at once
- Finding that most people seem to mumble or not speak clearly
- Misunderstanding what others say and responding inappropriately
- Difficulty understanding the speech of women and children
- Turning the TV volume up until people complain it is too loud
- Frequently hearing ringing, roaring, or hissing sounds
- Finding that some sounds seem too loud or too soft
If three or more of these apply to you, it is a good idea to have your hearing checked.
Our audiologists have the expertise and experience to find the right instruments for your hearing needs. We fit state-of-the are digital hearing aids from a variety of manufacturers and will work closely with you to ensure you are provided with the best devices and are able to use them with ease. We also offer accessory devices that will allow you to adjust your aids by remote control and even wirelessly connect to your Bluetooth devices. All of the hearing aids we fit come with a 30 day trial period, and a comprehensive 2 year worry-free warranty that includes loss and damage coverage. We offer a bi-weekly “walk-in” hour so that if you are having a problem with your hearing aids you may bring them in for service and have the issue quickly resolved without needing to make an appointment.
When hearing loss reaches a degree where hearing aids no longer provide adequate benefit, a cochlear implant may be indicated. Our specialists can determine if you are a candidate for an implant and provide the support services required to use the implant with success. Our implant audiologists have many years of expertise; our program, established in the early 1990’s was the first and for many years the only program providing cochlear implant services for adults in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Dizziness, vertigo and imbalance are some of the most common reasons a person sees their doctor. Causes of these conditions include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): a common condition where sense crystals become detached from their place in the inner ear balance organ and cause brief bouts of spinning sensation when certain movements are made.
- Inner ear infections: an inflammation of the balance organ of the inner ear that can cause temporary or lasting vertigo and balance problems.
- Meniere’s Disease: an inner ear disease characterized by episodes of spinning vertigo, ear fullness, fluctuating hearing loss and a roaring sound in the affected ear.
- Tumors of the auditory nerve or brainstem
- Neurologic conditions
- Circulatory conditions
- Medications: some medications have dizziness as a potential side effect
Our specialists diagnose and treat a wide variety of ear and balance disorders and can assess your condition with a number of diagnostic tests, including Videonystagmography, Electrocochleography and Platform Posturography . If a diagnosis of BPPV is made, our clinicians can treat this condition by performing “canalith repositioning” – a series of body position movements that return the loose crystals to their proper place in the inner ear where they will no longer cause vertigo.
Newborn Hearing Screening
Newborn screening program technicians are trained by audiologists to administer hearing tests to newborn infants. Identifying hearing loss in infants shortly after birth crucial to ensuring early intervention measures can prevent delays in the development of language and communication ability.
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010
Hours of Operation
Our outpatient hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with occasional Saturday hours by appointment.
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