Acadian Hearing and Balance Center offers comprehensive hearing aid services to those in the Lafayette and Acadiana area. Our team of board certified audiologists can help you determine the right hearing aid for your type and degree of hearing loss; they will also expertly fit the hearing aid and help you maintain it for the lifetime of the device.
Hearing loss is one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. It is the third most commonly reported physical condition, following arthritis and heart disease. It affects roughly 20 percent of the American population and can strike people of all ages.
The most common causes of hearing loss are noise exposure and aging.
Hearing loss is a progressive condition that worsens over time. Symptoms appear so gradually, you may be completely unaware of your affliction for some time; even when hearing loss is suspected, it takes an average of seven years for a person to seek medical treatment. Knowing the signs is helpful in spurring you to take action sooner. Any of the following might indicate hearing loss:
• Frequently asking people to repeat what they have said.
• Feeling like others mumble when they speak.
• Having difficulty following conversations in which background noise is present.
• Turning up the volume on the television or radio.
• Avoiding social gatherings in noisy places.
Often, a family member or friend will be the first to notice a hearing problem. Since treatment is most effective when begun early, if you think you might be suffering from diminished hearing, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist. The sooner, the better!
Audiology evaluations consist of a series of tests used to determine whether a hearing loss exists. If the patient is diagnosed with hearing loss, we measure its type, degree and configuration. An audiologist will assess the results of each individual test in order to develop a treatment plan geared toward your unique hearing loss.
Who Should Get a Hearing Exam?
An audiology (or hearing) evaluation can benefit patients of all ages, even those who do not exhibit signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss is a progressive condition that often develops slowly. Many people are not aware of a change in their hearing because they gradually adapt to the subtle changes in their hearing ability over time. Tests indicate that it takes seven years, on average, for a hearing-impaired individual to seek treatment. An audiology evaluation should be the first course of action for anybody who even suspects a hearing loss.
The sooner a diagnosis of hearing loss is made, the more successful treatment will be. Early detection means more options for the patient. Many physicians urge making audiology evaluations a routine part of your overall healthcare, much like regular vision exams and dental checkups. They are quick, painless and provide immediate results.
A comprehensive audiology evaluation consists of a series of individual diagnostic tests that measure different aspects of your hearing and auditory function. Following a physical examination and a review of your medical history, you will be given any or all of the following tests.
It has long been acknowledged that noise induced hearing loss can be prevented by wearing earplugs. While there are plenty of good choices available off the shelf, everyone’s ears are unique, and the best protection will come from those crafted with custom earmolds.
Custom earmolds are made from impressions of your ear canal and concha (the outer bowl-shaped portion of your ear). They adhere perfectly to the contours of your ears, providing a superior fit and protection. Custom molds aren’t just made for earplugs; they can be used in a variety of products including headphones, stethoscopes, and earpieces. Doctors, nurses, pilots, news reporters, musicians, swimmers, race car drivers, hunters, concertgoers, and construction workers are just some of the individuals who can benefit from custom molds.
Custom earmolds are generally made from acrylic, vinyl, or silicone and each has their pros and cons.
CUSTOM HEARING PROTECTION
Whether you’re in the woods, at the range, or on the factory floor, hearing clearly is key to your success and safety. Yet the need to protect your hearing from the damaging sound of gun blasts, power tools, and industrial machines creates a unique noise management challenge.
SoundGear® instruments feature advanced digital technology capable of enhancing sound eight times better than traditional hearing protection products. At the same time, it uses seamless sound-activated compression to trigger instant and automatic suppression of loud impulses and continuous noises.
Electronic Instant-Fit In-The-Canal
SoundGear® In-The-Canal is the smallest and lightest dynamic digital hearing protection product on the market. It’s ideal for the hunter or shooter looking for an edge or industrial workers looking for all-day comfort. Ready to wear right out of the box, it rests discreetly inside your ear to deliver natural wind reduction and superior sound quality.
PROTECTING YOUR HEARING
We are exposed to sound daily. Volume levels vary considerably and can easily exceed 85 decibels (dB) – the threshold that is considered safe. Any prolonged exposure to noise exceeding this level is harmful and can cause permanent, irreversible hearing loss.
Excess noise exposure isn’t the only cause of hearing damage. Diseases, drugs, and injury may all contribute to hearing loss. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your hearing and help prevent hearing impairment.
Protecting Your Hearing from Loud Noise
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss in the U.S. The good news? It is easily preventable. Follow these tips to protect your hearing:
- Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noise. Earplugs are a must in noisy environments such as rock concerts and sporting events. They should also be worn when riding a motorcycle or snowmobile, mowing the lawn, using power tools, etc. If your job exposes you to loud noise, your employer is required by OSHA to supply hearing protection.
- Turn down the volume. When listening to music or watching television, keep the volume low to prevent unnecessary damage to your hearing.
- Limit the number of noisy appliances running at the same time.
- Buy quieter appliances, and many list dB ratings in their specifications.
Preventing Hearing Loss from Diseases
Some diseases can cause hearing loss. Viruses that might damage hearing include measles, mumps, whooping cough, and rubella. Bacterial diseases such as meningitis and syphilis can also lead to hearing damage. Acoustic neuroma, or tumors on the hearing nerve (usually benign), may contribute to hearing loss. Tips for preventing hearing loss from disease include:
- Make sure your child is vaccinated. Immunizations offer protection from many childhood infections that can cause hearing damage.
- If you are sexually active, use protection to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Some can cause hearing loss.
- Don’t delay seeking medical attention should you become ill or experience a sudden change in your hearing
HEARING LOSS FACTS
People have many misconceptions about hearing loss. These are based on old myths, outdated technology, or just a general misunderstanding of the condition. By learning some important facts about hearing loss, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it, whether it affects you personally or somebody close to you.
Here are some interesting facts about hearing loss:
- 48 million Americans (20 percent of the population, or one in five) report some degree of hearing loss. This number has doubled in the last 30 years.
- Hearing loss isn’t confined to older individuals; it affects people of all ages. Only about one-third of hearing loss patients are older than 65.
- Not everybody who suffers from hearing loss is aware of their condition. Hearing loss develops gradually, and changes to hearing are often so subtle they may go unnoticed for some time.
Tinnitus, often described as a ringing in the ears, affects approximately one in five Americans. This perception of sound may affect one or both ears and can range from a minor nuisance to a constant distraction. Tinnitus is considered a symptom rather than a disease and is usually the result of an underlying condition. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve the noise and improve your quality of life. The audiologists at Acadian Hearing & Balance Center are here to help.
Tinnitus can manifest as an acute symptom lasting just a few days, or a chronic or recurring symptom lasting weeks, months or years. It is often described as a ringing in the ears, but is also reported to sound like hissing, buzzing, roaring, sizzling, clicking or other noise. If you’re one of the five percent of Americans suffering from tinnitus that is “moderately to significantly annoying or bothersome” it’s a great idea to visit a hearing specialist for an evaluation. Our top team of audiologists are equipped with many tools and strategies to help patients with tinnitus, but first we need to assess your condition.
What to Expect on Your First Visit
Our resource center provides support to our patients and offers helpful information to make your experience as pleasant as possible. We have a number of patient information forms available for download, as well as pre- and post-operative surgery instructions, insurance providers and a list of frequently asked questions. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call and we’ll help you out.
Tia Castille, AUD
Dr. Tia Castille has more than 24 years of experience in the field of audiology. She was drawn to the personal connections that are made with patients, but also drawn to the technical components of evaluating hearing and balance disorders and the science behind the hearing and balance systems. Dr. Castille has taught at the University of Louisiana Lafayette and has taught and mentored audiology doctoral students for over ten years. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Louisiana Academy of Audiology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Nicholls State University, her master’s from Louisiana State University’s Health Science Center and her doctorate from the University of Florida. She specializes in hearing aids and balance/equilibrium disorders. She loves educating patients and helping them hear and feel better.
Dr. Castille is married to Ignatius “Iggie” Castille II, the owner of a local landscaping company. They have four children together. In her spare time, Dr. Castille enjoys traveling, movies and going to the beach with family and friends.
Meagan McClure, AUD
Dr. Meagan McClure entered the field of audiology to help people improve their quality of life through better hearing. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Louisiana Academy of Audiology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 2006 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her Doctor of Audiology from Louisiana Tech University in 2010. She specializes in hearing aids and diagnostic audiology. She enjoys working with her coworkers and takes pride in providing patients with excellent care.
Dr. McClure is married to husband, Matt, who is an assistant principal at Notre Dame High School in Crowley, La. Meagan and Matt have three children, Emily, Connor, and Nathan. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her husband, kids and two dogs Belle and Beaux.
Katherine Duhon, AUD
Dr. Katherine Duhon has always had a passion for helping others. In graduate school, she realized she could connect with her patients better by educating them. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Louisiana Academy of Audiology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and her Doctorate of Audiology from Louisiana Tech University.
Dr. Duhon is married to husband, Colby, an independent insurance agent with Quality Plus in Lafayette. Katherine and Colby have two children, Andrew, and Kate Mae. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, crafting, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.
Mollie Sylvester, AUD
Dr. Mollie Sylvester enjoys meeting new people and connecting with her patients. She loves educating others and believes that understanding your diagnosis can help with treatment. Dr. Sylvester completed her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Louisiana State university in 2012 and received her Doctor of Audiology from the University of South Alabama in 2016. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders.
Dr. Sylvester enjoys traveling and spending time extended family, friends, husband and their two dogs.
Hillary Watson, AUD
Hilary is the audiology coordinator. When she is not working at the front desk, she helps get patients ready for testing. Hilary is passionate about helping with patient care and getting to know them on a first-name basis. She also loves spending time with her family: Barry and her beautiful daughter, Scarlett. Hilary is originally from Houma, Louisiana, but has lived in Lafayette for three years. Aside from spending time with family, Hilary enjoys going to the gym, cooking, traveling and shopping.
Brianne T. White, AUD
Dr. Brianne Thibodeaux White has always had compassion toward others, which is what led her to the field of audiology. She strives to help people improve their quality of life through better hearing techniques. Dr. Brianne White is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her Doctor of Audiology degree from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Louisiana Academy of Audiology. Dr. White specializes in diagnostic audiology (including pediatric to adults), hearing aid selection and fitting of the most advanced technology, and custom hearing protection. She enjoys working with her patients and their families to help them find the best treatment plan for their hearing and communication needs.
Dr. White is married to husband, Jesse, who is a medical sales representative for Stryker Corporation. Brianne and Jesse have one child, Jude. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family and friends and monogramming.
All the doctors are very informative and caring. The staff is amazing as well! They make sure you understand everything, and they explain it in ways you can understand. They are very passionate at everything they do!
Went in for a VA disability evaluation. Mollie Sylvester was attentive and pleasant. Talked me through each part of the test and explained what each test was testing for. Mollie listened to my issues and concerns about my hearing loss, she was also very appreciative of my military service. That was the most thorough hearing test I have ever taken. I would definitely recommend this firm to any of my fellow combat veterans with hearing issues.
The office facility is always bright and comfortable. The nurses, staff, practitioners, and doctors are very knowledgeable and courteous when explaining my health issues and insurance coverages. Great office of professionals.
Recently I had to visit an ENT for the very first time. I had no idea what to expect and very little understanding of what my issues were. Everyone at Acadian ENT were absolutely a delight to work with. They were caring, professional and pleasant from the moment we walked in the door. Each person that we interacted with explained my symptoms & treatment thoroughly and with a smile. I can’t recommend this place enough. 10 stars!
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