The Carel du Toit Centre’s Audiology team offers comprehensive diagnostic audiological evaluations; hearing aid fittings and –management, as well as verification for all infants and children enrolled in our programme. This ensures that our infants and children have immediate access to quality and comprehensive audiological services on site. The audiologists have regular consultations with families and children, teachers, therapists and other professional people involved, following evidence-based procedures and protocols. Because hearing all day, every day, is vital to the success of our children, our services are available throughout the year and not dependent on the school term.
Evaluations include establishing case history and concerns, otoscopy, pure-tone and speech testing using air and bone conduction (Visual Response Audiometry; Conditioned Play Audiometry; Standard Audiometry), tympanometry and acoustic reflex testing, oto-acoustic emissions testing, electrophysiological testing (Auditory Brainstem Response; Auditory Steady State Responses) and other specialised tests when needed.
Hearing Aids and Assistive Devices
Suitable audibility is a cornerstone of our programme and requires proactive and progressive audiological services. Each hour of each day matters in the life of a child acquiring language through listening. Infants and children use a variety of traditional Behind-the-ear hearing aids, CROS aids, Bone anchored hearing aids and ear level FM systems. Our hearing aid services include the selection, fitting, verification and validation of technology based on individual needs. Services are guided using audiometric fitting prescriptions modified by environmental needs and objective verification. All infants and children accessing our Family-centred Early Intervention (CHAT) programme are seen at least quarterly (or more regularly if indicated) for electro-acoustic technology assessments, diagnostic audiometry, verification and validation. We provide the same service at least biannually to all school-going children. This is done in order to ensure optimal benefit from hearing technology and to monitor hearing. Hearing aid management includes retake of earmoulds, retubing and small services. In addition to optimising and maintaining hearing technology, we provide all learners from Grade R to Grade 3 with wireless remote technology, i.e. digital FM systems, to enhance speech understanding in the classroom. These are wireless listening devices that allow the child with hearing loss to hear the teacher’s voice directly through his hearing technology over distance and in noise, as well as counteracting reverberation.
Cochlear Implant Services
Cochlear implant candidacy should be considered for infants and children with hearing loss when hearing aids do not provide sufficient amplification or when progress in listening is concerning. The Carel du Toit Centre’s audiologists often refer families for cochlear implant evaluations at Tygerberg Hospital Stellenbosch University Cochlear Implant Unit (TBH-SU-CIU), and we also provide information, counselling and support during the process. Our MAPping audiologist responsible to ensure optimal functioning of cochlear implant technology, working with the Tygerberg Hospital University of Stellenbosch Cochlear Implant Unit (TBH US CIU), is also on site.
Training and collaboration
Throughout the year, Carel du Toit audiology hosts a professional paediatric audiology interest group. We also host seminars and workshops for other professionals, parents and teachers. We collaborate closely with other audiologists and audiology departments in the government and private medical sector.