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Thompson & Hoffman Audiology


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We are a private hearing healthcare practice in Durban and Ballito offering services in assessment, diagnosis and management of hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children



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All about sharing the stories 


Kara Hoffman

We are here to listen

Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. is managed by two experienced practitioners - Lauren Thompson and Dr. Kara Hoffman (Au.D), using state-of-the-art equipment to provide comprehensive audiological services to the vast majority of the public.

Balance Assessments
Lauren Thompson is the expert in investigating, diagnosing and treating your balance disorder.

VNG testing is considered the new standard for testing inner ear functions, and it is a series of tests designed to document a person’s ability to follow visual objects with their eyes and how well the eyes respond to information from the vestibular system.

VNG testing is used to determine if a vestibular (inner ear) disease may be causing a balance or dizziness problem, and is one of the only tests available today that can decipher between a unilateral (one ear) and bilateral (both ears) vestibular loss. Appointments usually last about 1.5 hours.

Lauren has a very close relationship with referring Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons, Neurologists and Physicians, as well as Biokineticists and Physiotherapists, and is additionally trained to offer vestibular rehabilitation should she feel that this method of treatment for your balance dysfunction is required and appropriate.

Implantable Hearing Devices
Have you tried hearing aids and still battle to hear? Do hearing aids give you an infection?

Cochlear implants take advantage of the things an ear can still do after hair cells have been damaged or destroyed. It also takes advantage of how smart and flexible the human brain can be. The cochlear implant creates a new way of hearing.

Dr Kara Hoffman (Au.D) has been a co-ordinator and now member of the Durban Cochlear Implant Programme since she became additionally licensed in cochlear implantation through the University of Stellenbosch in 2008. The candidacy process is a lengthy and in-depth assessment that touches on all facets of the hearing impaired patient’s life – communication, family, surgical, emotional, financial, medical, audiological and psychological – for the most incredible outcomes that technology can offer in this day-and-age! Each company supported by the DCIP has FDA approved, internationally manufactured products with years of research and technology – many of whom have welcomed the team to their advanced training in their overseas laboratories and by their expert engineers and audiologists.

Hearing Aids
We will guide you along your process of acquiring and being fitted with hearing aids that suit your lifestyle, pocket and audiological requirements.

We will guide you along your process of acquiring and being fitted with hearing aids that suit your lifestyle, pocket and audiological requirements. We offer a range of devices, styles and manufacturers, and are able to offer you the technology that suits your needs.

What are Hearing Aids? Hearing aids are small electronic devices that help people with many types of hearing loss, to hear better in daily life. They amplify and alter sounds to make it audible to someone with a hearing loss regardless of cause of the hearing loss. Some even suppress background noise, so that other sounds, like speech, become easier to listen to and understand.

We offer a wide variety of hearing aid technologies and manufacturers. The market leaders in hearing aid technology on an international scale include Starkey, Beltone, Widex, Siemens, Phonak, Unitron and Oticon. We fit only hearing aids manufactured internationally. All hearing aid technologies we fit are supported in the country by laboratories set up to service and repair devices.

Hearing Tests for Adults
Book an appointment to have your hearing tested.

Why do we test hearing?
Our aim is to establish the impact that the hearing loss is having on communication, and how we can assist in improving the communication barriers.

How do you test hearing?
All tests are performed in a sound treated booth, using carefully calibrated state of the art equipment in order to make a differential diagnosis of hearing loss. Using a variety of clinical tools, which may consist of pure-tone testing, speech audiometry and impedance testing, we will be able to determine your hearing acuity. Should a hearing loss be present, proper follow-up will be recommended by us – which may include referral for medical or surgical treatment, assistive hearing devices, or implantable devices – depending on the outcome of the test.

Hearing Tests for Children
From newborn to older children, we have the experience, skill and equipment to test your child’s hearing.

How do we test children’s hearing?
Visual Reinforcement (VRA)
VRA is a test that allows us to assess hearing in infants and toddlers too young for normal tests. VRA relies on behavioural conditioning to train very young kids to respond to sounds. It is designed for children aged 6 months to around 2 and a half years old. Visual reinforcers such as lighted toys are placed 90-degrees to each side of the child to "train" them to look toward the direction of the sound. This test is done with two audiologists.

Conditioned Play Audiometry (CPA)
CPA allows us to test the hearing of very young toddlers and preschoolers. CPA uses behavioural conditioning to get kids to respond to sounds. It is designed for children between 2 and 5 years of age – they are encouraged and trained to listen to a sound, and perform a play-like task in response to that sound, for example they will place a block in a bucket every time they hear a beep

Pure Tone Audiometry
From approximately 5 years of age, a child may be able to respond reliably in the booth by wearing headphones and either pressing a button or raising their arm in response to sounds heard.

Advanced Audiology: ABRs & OAEs
The auditory brainstem response (ABR) test tells us how the inner ear, called the cochlea, and the brain pathways for hearing are working. The test is used with children or others who cannot complete a typical hearing screening test and requires specialised equipment and expertise

The OAE (Otoacoustic Emissions) test checks part of the inner ear's response to sound. The test is mostly done on infants and children who may not be able to respond to behavioural hearing tests.

Auditory Processing Disorders
Let’s investigate if your child has an Auditory Processing Disorder and see how we can help.

A multidisciplinary team approach is critical to fully assess and understand the cluster of problems exhibited by children with APD. Yet it is important to know that, however valuable the information from the multidisciplinary team is in understanding the child's overall areas of strength and weakness, none of the test tools used by these professionals are diagnostic tools for APD, and the actual diagnosis of APD must be made by an audiologist.

Tinnitus Assessment and Management
Do you experience bothersome ringing in your ears? Don’t just believe you have to live with it!

Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the ears or head where no external source is present. Some call it “ringing in the ears” or “head noise”. Most patients who seek medical help for their tinnitus learn that there is no serious medical problem causing their condition. This knowledge alone is often enough to allow some to adapt to the sounds they hear. Other people, however, experience tinnitus as disruptive and stress-inducing and need help learning how to cope with the sounds.

If you are interested in a treatment programme but are uncertain how to access appropriate care, contact us to find out more on how we can help you through the process.

Noise Protection
Noise exposure poses an increasingly serious threat to individuals' hearing.

Hearing loss incurred in the workplace is a compensable disease in terms of Schedule 3 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act (COID act). This highlights the very need and importance of monitoring your hearing at least on an annual basis if you are exposed to noise for extended periods of time.

There are a wide variety of types of hearing protectors available, including ear muffs, foam and preformed ear plugs, and canal caps.

Durban Practice
345 Stephen Dlamini (Essenwood Road), Berea, Durban, 4001
(031) 208 1014
(wheelchair friendly)

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