The ability to hear well allows you to communicate effectively. When problems with your ears develop, it can affect your entire life. It’s important to have a qualified health care professional check your hearing to determine the proper treatment for your individual needs. This is where our hearing and balance team at the University of Missouri Health Care can help.
What to do if you have hearing loss
If you suspect you have hearing loss, the first step is to undergo a thorough hearing evaluation with a licensed audiologist (a provider, often with a doctorate level of education, who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing hearing loss and balance disorders) and a medical examination with a physician who specializes in hearing disorders.
Both examinations can be completed at the MU ENT, Hearing & Balance Center.
Hearing and balance services
We offer a broad range of services to assess hearing and balance disorders.
- Comprehensive audiology testing. These tests help determine your hearing and balance skills.
- Custom-made earplugs. Our team can create custom-made earplugs for a variety of needs, including:
- Hearing protection. These protect ears from excessive levels of noise with custom-made ear molds.
- Musician monitors. In-ear monitors and filters to preserve sound quality with protection for musicians.
- Swim molds. These molds prevent water from getting into the ears with custom-made earplugs.
- Hearing aid fitting and follow-up. Our audiologists work with you to determine the best hearing aids for your needs, and then ensure it fits and works correctly. Once fit, we will continue to follow up with you to ensure your hearing aids continue to improve your quality of life.
- Ototoxicity monitoring. Certain medications can potentially damage your hearing. We offer monitoring to assess if and how your hearing may be affected so your physician can adjust your medications if needed.
- Pediatric audiology. Our certified audiologists offer pediatric hearing services to our youngest patients, and use age-appropriate and clinically-proven techniques to diagnose and treat your child’s hearing loss and balance disorders. We offer pediatric hearing evaluations, special testing services such as newborn screenings, hearing aid services, cochlear implants, and bone anchored hearing prosthesis. Learn more about pediatric audiology services.
- Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. ABR is a non-invasive test used to measure brain activity in response to sound.
- Vestibular assessment. Vestibular disorders, an inner ear disorder that affects your balance, can be caused by an injury, illness, or anothercondition. The most common include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraine. Our audiologists offer specialized testing andtreatment options to treat vestibular disorders. Learn more.
- Rotary chair platform. A non-invasive, painless test that assesses the function of the balance system. Goggles are used to monitor eye movements in response to movements of the chair
- Posturography. A measurement of the balance system including eyes, ears and the body's sense of where it is in space while using a harness and movable platform.
- Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP). A measurement of the vestibular system in response to sound. It is a non-invasive, painless procedure.
- Videonystagmography (VNG). A non-invasive, painless test that assesses vestibular (balance) functioning. Goggles are used to monitor eye movements in response to different stimulus conditions.
Hearing and balance team
Our staff includes state licensed, nationally certified audiologists who use a team approach, working together with our otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) and primary care physicians.
We accept referrals from ENT doctors, primary care and specialty care physicians, other audiologists and self-referred patients.
Learning in Retirement (LIR)
Watch Dr. Tessa Nguyen’s presentation "Can You Hear Me Now?" from the Learning in Retirement (LIR) class on March 1, 2023. Dr. Nguyen is an audiologist at the University of Missouri Health Care. Read more about Tessa Nguyen, AUD
“Dr. Rivera and my audiologist took my concerns seriously. Having an autoimmune disease combined with Meniere’s, they did everything they could to slow the progression of my hearing loss before I needed cochlear implants.
“With implants, I regained my confidence to be in group settings like church and make conversation. If you are having problems with your hearing, ask for help. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.” Ann B.
“My audiologist was great, from the cochlear implant surgery to the hearing tests after. I can hear again. I was hearing silence and white noise, but now my hearing function is at 97%. I don’t have to stare at people to hear people, and my implant is programmed to pick up conversation. It’s near perfect.” Jerry L.