Services & Programs

Twin Boys Play with Toys - photo by: Marita Blanken



Why should I come to Easter Seals for Hearing Testing or Hearing Aids?
Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region is a trusted name. For more than fifty years we have served the community and are very well known for our stellar pediatric outpatient rehabilitation services.  Our audiologists are specialists with all age groups and provide gentle, kind, professional treatment for hearing loss.  We take the time to answer questions and listen to our patients.  We feel that listening to our patients and their family members, educating our patients and understanding their unique needs are critical to successful treatment of hearing problems.  We pride ourselves in our ability to provide this help in a sensitive, family-focused program tailored to each individual’s needs.   Our audiologists have over fifty years of experience between them and are very proud that so many of their new patients choose Easter Seals based on praise and recommendations from friends and family.

Walking the halls of our buildings provides many who enter with a unique perspective on life and it’s daily challenges.  Daily you may see children walking for the first time or saying their first words after months and sometimes years of hard work.  The Audiologist’s hear time and again from their adult patients how inspirational these children are.  The staff at ESD feels very privileged to be doing the work that they do and making such a difference in so many lives.  Many of our patients have expressed a feeling that it was very important to them to spend their money and have their services provided by a local not-for-profit facility that has given so much back to the communities it serves.  We thank them and we thank you for considering Easter Seals DuPage Audiology.
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Who should participate?

Adults of all ages from the surrounding area can be seen in our community audiology clinics.  According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association hearing loss is a prevalent chronic condition among adults of all ages.  While more than 30% of people over 65 have some type of hearing loss, 14% of those between 45 and 64 have hearing loss. Close to 8 million people between the ages of 18 and 44 have hearing loss. It is recommended that adults be screened at least every decade up through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter.
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What symptoms indicate that I should have my hearing evaluated?

Any adult experiencing the following symptoms should have their hearing evaluated:

  • An unusual feeling in the ears or noticeable change in hearing abilities
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Asking others to repeat themselves
  • Family or friends noticing a change in your hearing/memory or listening
  • Turing up the volume on the television
  • Difficulty understanding telephone conversations

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What can I expect when I arrive for my hearing evaluation appointment?

You should plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork and registration if not already completed.  When you first arrive you will be greeted at the front desk and will sign in.  There will be seating in the waiting area of the Audiology Department.  You will need to complete a one-page case history form.  There will also be a Consent and HIPAA form and also a basic registration page to complete.  Your audiologist will greet you in the Audiology waiting area when it is time for your appointment.   
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What can I expect during the hearing evaluation?

The audiologist will talk with you about your concerns, your doctors concerns, and review your case history.  During the history, the audiologist will also determine your overall communication needs.

Following a thorough history, the audiologist will examine the outer ear with an otoscope. The audiologist can observe any damage caused by the use of cotton applicators ("Q-tips"), trauma, or chronic infection. The audiologist can also observe the condition of the ear drum.  The audiologist will ensure that wax is not blocking the ear canal.  If it is, you may need to reschedule the appointment after you have the wax obstruction removed by your physician.

There are several components that may be part of a comprehensive audiologic evaluation. Based on the history and physical examination of the ear, the audiologist will determine the tests that are required for your needs. These may include but are not limited to:

  1. Tympanometry and acoustic reflexes to assess the status of the middle ear and auditory neural pathways.
  2. Pure tone thresholds by air and bone conduction to determine the degree and type of hearing loss.
  3. Tests of speech threshold and speech recognition in quiet and perhaps also in noise, to determine the ability to comprehend more complex signals.
  4. Special tests of auditory function, such as otoacoustic emissions, dependant upon your symptoms and results of other tests.

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What happens after the evaluation?

The audiologist will go over your results with you.  It can be very beneficial to have a spouse or family member accompany you to the visit.  Any questions you may have about your diagnosis can be asked at this time.  Appropriate recommendations will be offered at this time and may include medical referral, further testing, monitoring or amplification. 
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How do I know if I need hearing aids?

Generally, there are two key variables that are part of the equation to determine your need for hearing aid(s). The first variable is based on the audiologic evaluation. Using the hearing test results, the audiologist will counsel you if the type and severity of your hearing loss can benefit from amplification. Referral to a physician specialist may be recommended, if necessary, if any of the findings indicate additional medical pathology. The second variable depends on you. You must assess your situation, motivation and your degree of communicative difficulty and determine your specific goals and needs in regards to your hearing abilities. If amplification is an appropriate option, an appointment for a hearing aid evaluation will be recommended for you to discuss in greater depth and detail a treatment plan based on your personal hearing deficits and goals.
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How can I learn to maximize the hearing that I do have?

When it comes to living with hearing loss, some think that simply getting hearing aids or other listening devices is a quick fix and will solve all the problems.  It is important to know that hearing loss is a permanent condition and that treatment, also known as Audiologic Rehabilitation,  is not a quick fix but is a gradual process of adjustment, acclimation to new and different sound, and brain retraining.  Patience and time are needed to work through this process.  Working with an audiologist that listens to you and that you feel you can talk to about any specific hearing challenges you encounter is important for success.   The overall goal of Audiologic Rehabilitation is to maximize communication success in everyday environments and situations.  Audiologic Rehabilitation services will be incorporated into your treatment and visits with the audiologist and may include:

  • learning "how" to listen
  • learning how hearing loss affects speech understanding
  • building confidence in handling communication situations
  • learning what to do when you "don' t get the message"
  • learning how best to use your hearing aids or other assistive devices
  • learning about different kinds of technology to improve communication
  • learning how to advocate for yourself
  • promoting family and care-giver understanding and support of your needs
  • learning how you can make it easier for your family to communicate with you

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How much will it cost to see the Audiologist?

There is a wide range of evaluations and services offered by the Audiology Department and also a wide range of fees.  Generally there is a cost involved for all of these services unless you are only coming for a brief adult free screening or are coming for a repair of a hearing aid that is currently under warranty through our office.  Evaluation fees can be explained in general terms by the audiology receptionist.  Brief in-office repairs for devices out of warranty generally cost less than $50 and a quote will be given to you by the audiologist should more extensive repair be required.  Any other fees for hearing aids or treatment will be discussed with you by your audiologist as appropriate.

At times a patient will call that has a very limited budget for services and are dismayed to find out that most insurance companies do not cover hearing aids.  We have a wide range of technology and we have lower level budget devices for persons who need amplification that are on very limited budgets.  We also offer all our private pay patients a discount when paying in full for devices at the time of service or we offer a payment plan option that allows payment to be distributed over a period of as much as six months time.  For those who cannot afford even a budget hearing aid, the Audiologists can make referrals to area organizations that may assist in paying for a hearing aid upon proof of documented financial need. 
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Will I need a prescription or referral for Audiology services?

Perhaps.  If you are coming as a self pay patient then no prescription is necessary, and you will pay the costs of the evaluation or service at the time of your appointment.  If you are coming based on medical referral and will be requesting that your medical insurance be billed for the evaluation, then 99% of the time your insurance will require a written referral for “Hearing evaluation and treatment” on your physician’s prescription pad.  Please become familiar with your individual insurance coverage and requirements.  For future evaluations or services, a new or annual referral will be required in order to be seen by the audiologist.

Be sure that either you bring with or have already sent in any referrals or prescriptions.  You will also be asked for your insurance cards, so be sure to have them all with you.  Persons who are under an HMO plan are strongly cautioned to be sure that the services will be covered.  HMO’s will require pre-authorization of all services so you must be sure that has occurred.  Also, we may not be a provider for your HMO so you need to be sure we are working with your specific plan before you schedule.

Some state programs and agencies have their own unique referral and authorization process and you must be sure you have followed the specific rules of the agency you are coming through prior to your visit.
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Who should I call with questions or to get started?

For more information or to make an appointment contact:
Elgin: Kimberly Garcia, Reception and Audiology Intake 847.742.3264
Villa Park:  Joanne Larsen, Audiology Intake Coordinator at 630.282.2023 (Monday-Thursday)
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Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley provides services for infants, children and adults with disabilities to achieve maximum independence, and to provide support for the families who love and care for them.

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