This section presents information on the assessment process and the various team members that can assist the student.  A comprehensive evaluation of the student’s functional hearing needs to take place so that the student receives appropriate intervention and services (Lewis & Allman, 2000).  To fully evaluate the hearing condition, abilities and needs of the student, a two-fold approach is required, involving diagnosis and assessment.

Initially, the diagnosis of a hearing impairment is based upon a comprehensive evaluation by a multidisciplinary evaluation team, which includes a physician, an audiologist, and an otolaryngologist or otologist.  Table 2 below describes the roles of the various professionals involved in the hearing assessment process and information they can provide to educators to help the student. 
 

Health Professionals

Role

Doctor/General Practitioner

Examines the ears by carrying out a basic hearing screening.

Refers patients to the appropriate health care professionals such as audiologists, otolaryngologists or otologists.

Audiologist

Trained specialist in the evaluation and non- medical treatment of hearing impairment:

  • Performs an extensive hearing test,
  • Completes a diagnostic assessment,
  • Prescribes and fits hearing aids
  • Offers counseling and auditory rehabilitation,
  • Gives advice about hearing conservation and assistive devices.

Otolaryngologist

Physician specializing in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck.  In the domain of the ear, is trained in both the medical and surgical treatment of hearing, ear infections, balance disorders, ear noise (tinnitus), and congenital (birth) disorders of the outer and inner ear.  Pediatric otolaryngologist receives advanced training in the medical and surgical care of children.                                   (Dugan, 2003)

Otologist

A physician specializing in the medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of disorders associated with the ear. Pediatric otologists treat children from the newborn period through the teenage years. They have advanced training in the medical and surgical care of children.