group of audiologist


Several years ago, we joined an audiology co-operative “Entheos” which means enthusiasm.  There are three pillars of the cooperative.  The first is giveback so we support our nonprofit organization Hearing the Call.  If you remember last year Jane and I went to Turks and Caicos to test all the children of South Caicos and the special needs children in Provo.  The second pillar is business support.  Being an independent private practice audiology clinic has its challenges, so having the support of a business team is truly beneficial.  The third pillar is following best practices.  There are currently 91 members of the cooperative who all strive to provide the best audiological care possible.

Every spring we meet as a group.  Alternating one year, the meeting is for owners only, the next the meeting is open to team members.  To obtain continuing education hours the education team brings in a variety of outside speakers. Additionally, members of the cooperative who have a special area of interest will also present information about their area of expertise.  Last month the meeting was in Charlotte.  Since we did not have to get on an airplane to attend, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the entire team.  We closed the office for two days so we could all go to Charlotte and have a wonderful experience together, learning and sharing new concepts.

Several of the sessions we stayed together as the information presented was applicable to the whole team regardless of the role they hold in the office.  Throughout the two days there were times where Dr. Mussler, Jane, Cheryl, and I attended sessions directly related to technical aspects of hearing healthcare.  

The entire meeting was fantastic, but, there was one session that stood out above the others.  We spent a great amount of time reviewing the neuroanatomy of the auditory system.  It was a great reminder that our auditory system is truly amazing.  Movement of air molecules (sound) travel down the ear canal causing the eardrum (tympanic membrane) to vibrate.  The vibration of the eardrum causes the three smallest bones of our body (ossicles in the middle ear) to transmit the sound to the sensory organ (cochlea) where it is detected.  We often stop there when we talk about hearing… but wait, there is so much more.  

The ability to detect sound is transferred up the auditory nerve up the brainstem making its way up to the brain where meaning is given to that information.  Thousands of neural synapsis must occur for proper transmission.  That part of the system is designed to enhance what is important “speech”.  As the information travels up the system, the brain also sends information down to the sensory organ, suppressing what is not important “noise”.  

The effects of age, medications and noise can have a devastating effect on this amazing auditory system.  The biggest reminder is a single exposure to loudness damages the synaptic system resulting in difficulty understanding in a noisy restaurant environment.  Damage occurs going “up” the system as well as coming “down” the system. When we complete only a beep-beep tone hearing test, we are measuring only your ability to detect sound.  You can have a low Hearing Number but have significant difficulty in a noisy environment.

If you learn nothing else from the articles I write for The Savvy, noise/loud stuff is damaging, it is bad…REALLY bad.  Damage can result from a single exposure, low level continuous or loud long-term exposure.  The system continues to deteriorate even after the exposure is over.  If you can’t avoid the exposure, WEAR HEARING PROTECTION!

If you would like to learn more about your amazing auditory system and see how yours works, give Diane or Jamie a call at 704-633-0023 to schedule an appointment. Remember to like us on Facebook and check out our website:  Dr. Mussler, Jane, Cheryl, and I look forward to seeing you soon.