Audiologists with the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent now have a new way to help diagnose hearing problems among the centre’s clients.
Thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Sertoma Foundation of Canada at the behest of the Thamesville Sertoma and LaSertoma clubs, the centre has new equipment in place.
Sandra DeKok, an audiologist with the centre, said the device is auditory brainstem response testing equipment. It allows hearing tests to be conducted on people who can’t or won’t communicate.
“Sometimes we have children or adults who can’t be tested normally,” she said. “The client doesn’t have to respond. The machine registers the response.”
Clients with cognitive or developmental difficulties may not necessarily raise their hands to respond to typical hearing tests when they hear a sound, DeKok said. This machine lets the audiologists know the sounds are being heard, and to what extent.
The device will even help the audiologists identify if there are blockages, as it measures how sound travels from the ears to the brains, DeKok said. This is done with electrodes that are placed on the forehead and behind the ears.
The equipment works best when a person is quite relaxed. To that extent, clients get to sit in a large, comfortable recliner while the test takes place.
Donna Litwin-Makey, executive director of the Children’s Treatment Centre, thanked the Sertoma and LaSertoma clubs for the support. She said the centre receives government financing for day-to-day expenses and items, but to acquire large pieces of equipment, donations are required.
Tammy Craeymeersch, president of the Sertoma Foundation of Canada and the Thamesville LaSertoma Club, said the foundation’s mandate is to support speech and hearing assistance. The national body received a request last year to deliver more dollars to Chatham-Kent, she said.
As a result, the foundation donated $10,000 from each of the Thamesville Sertoma and LaSertoma clubs to the Children’s Treatment Centre. Furthermore, similar donations on behalf of the Chatham Sertoma and LaSertoma clubs went to the Canadian Hearing Society’s Chatham branch., Craeymeersch said.
According to the treatment centre, this is the only auditory brainstem response testing equipment west of London.