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Hearing Associates Of Dothan

Better Hearing, New Life!

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About Hearing Associates Of Dothan

Hearing Associates of Dothan has served the Dothan area and its surrounding communities for more than 3 years. Our entire staff is assembled for one purpose: to serve our patients. We provide a comprehensive array of services related to evaluation, rehabilitation, and prevention of hearing impairment.

More About Hearing Associates Of Dothan

 

Hearing Associates of Dothan serves the Dothan area and its surrounding communities.  Our entire staff is assembled for one purpose: to serve our patients.  We provide a comprehensive array of services related to evaluation, rehabilitation, and prevention of hearing impairment.

We are a very social group.  Give us 5 minutes of free time and we can often be found clustered around the front desk talking to each other or to anyone who will listen to us.  And that is precisely why we are doing what we do today.  Nothing would create a greater void in our lives than the inability or diminished ability to join in a conversation.  And we are passionate about making sure that we fix that problem for everyone who comes our way.

Please meet Our Family….we hope you become the newest member very soon.

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What we do

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Just because we know what we do every day doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what we do every day! See below for a list of everything we do here every day. Our goal is to make sure that we’re the only place you need to visit for all your hearing healthcare needs.

Evaluations/Tests

  • Comprehensive Hearing Evaluations
  • Hearing Evaluations for DOT Physicals
  • Hearing Aid Evaluations
  • Newborn Hearing Screenings
  • Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Evaluations
  • Tests to determine the following:
  • Tinnitus
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Middle Ear Dysfunction

Hearing Aid Services

  • Hearing Aid Dispensing
  • Hearing Aid Cleanings
  • Hearing Aid Fittings
  • Hearing Aid Service and Repair for All Brands of Hearing Aids
  • Verification Testing
  • Aided Sound Field Testing
  • Hearing Aid Loaner Program
  • Hearing Aid Batteries and Supplies
  • Wireless and Bluetooth Accessories
  • Assisted Listening Devices
  • Amplified Telephones
  • Various Alerting Devices
  • Wireless and Bluetooth Accessories
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The shape of your outer ear and ear canal are unique to you. Earmolds are typically used for one of two reasons:

  • To keep things out (noise and water are the two big issues).
  • To keep things in (amplified sound from a hearing aid).

To obtain the maximum benefit from an earmold you need the best fit possible and that is exactly why we offer custom made earmolds.

Earmolds

  • iPod earbuds
  • Noise Protection
  • Musician’s ear plugs
  • Hunters earplugs for shooting

Custom Earmolds

  • Swim Molds (for swimming or showering)
  • Hearing Aid Molds
  • Customized Hearing Protection
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Several types of ALDs are available to improve sound transmission for people with hearing loss. Some are designed for large facilities such as classrooms, theaters, places of worship, and airports. Other types are intended for personal use in small settings and for one-on-one conversations.

What are assistive listening devices?

The terms assistive listening device or assistive listening technology can refer to any device that helps a person with hearing loss to communicate. These terms often refer to devices that help a person to hear and understand what is being said more clearly or to express thoughts more easily. With the development of digital and wireless technologies, more and more devices are becoming available to help people with hearing disorders to communicate more meaningfully and participate more fully in their daily lives.

What types of assistive listening devices are available?

Several types of ALDs are available to improve sound transmission for people with hearing loss. Some are designed for large facilities such as classrooms, theaters, places of worship, and airports. Other types are intended for personal use in small settings and for one-on-one conversations. All can be used with or without hearing aids or a cochlear implant. ALD systems for large facilities include hearing loop systems, frequency-modulated (FM) systems, and infrared systems.

What’s a telecoil?

A telecoil, also called a t-coil, is a coil of wire that is installed inside many hearing aids and cochlear implants to act as a miniature wireless receiver. It was originally designed to make sounds clearer to a listener over the telephone. It also is used with a variety of other assistive listening devices, such as hearing loop (or induction loop) systems, FM systems, infrared systems, and personal amplifiers.

The telecoil works by receiving an electromagnetic signal from the hearing loop and then turning it back into sound within the hearing aid or cochlear implant. This process eliminates much of the distracting background noise and delivers sound customized for one’s own need. For people who are hard-of-hearing who do not have a telecoil-equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant, loop receivers with headsets can provide similar benefits but without the customized or “corrected sound” feature that matches one’s hearing loss pattern.

Many cochlear implants have a telecoil built into the sound processor, or can use an external telecoil accessory with both hearing aid compatible telephones and public loop systems. A simple switch or programming maneuver performed by the user activates this function.

FM Systems

FM systems use radio signals to transmit amplified sounds. They are often used in classrooms, where the instructor wears a small microphone connected to a transmitter and the student wears the receiver, which is tuned to a specific frequency, or channel. People who have a telecoil inside their hearing aid or cochlear implant may also wear a wire around the neck (called a neckloop) or behind their aid or implant (called a silhouette inductor) to convert the signal into magnetic signals that can be picked up directly by the telecoil. FM systems can transmit signals up to 300 feet and are able to be used in many public places. However, because radio signals are able to penetrate walls, listeners in one room may need to listen to a different channel than those in another room to avoid receiving mixed signals. Personal FM systems operate in the same way as larger scale systems and can be used to help people with hearing loss to follow one-on-one conversations.

Infrared Systems

Infrared systems use infrared light to transmit sound. A transmitter converts sound into a light signal and beams it to a receiver that is worn by a listener. The receiver decodes the infrared signal back to sound. As with FM systems, people whose hearing aids or cochlear implants have a telecoil may also wear a neckloop or silhouette inductor to convert the infrared signal into a magnetic signal, which can be picked up through their telecoil. Unlike induction loop or FM systems, the infrared signal cannot pass through walls, making it particularly useful in courtrooms, where confidential information is often discussed, and in buildings where competing signals can be a problem, such as classrooms or movie theaters. However, infrared systems cannot be used in environments with too many competing light sources, such as outdoors or in strongly lit rooms.

Personal Amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are useful in places in which the above systems are unavailable or when watching TV, being outdoors, or traveling in a car. About the size of a cell phone, these devices increase sound levels and reduce background noise for a listener. Some have directional microphones that can be angled toward a speaker or other source of sound. As with other ALDs, the amplified sound can be picked up by a receiver that the listener is wearing, either as a headset or as earbuds.

What devices are available for communicating by telephone?

For many years, people with hearing loss have used text telephone or telecommunications devices, called TTY or TDD machines, to communicate by phone. This same technology also benefits people with speech difficulties. A TTY machine consists of a typewriter keyboard that displays typed conversations onto a readout panel or printed on paper. Callers will either type messages to each other over the system or, if a call recipient does not have a TTY machine, use the national toll-free telecommunications relay service at 711 to communicate. (See Telecommunications Relay Servicesfor more information.) Through the relay service, a communications assistant serves as a bridge between two callers, reading typed messages aloud to the person with hearing while transcribing what’s spoken into type for the person with hearing loss.

With today’s new electronic communication devices, however, TTY machines have almost become a thing of the past. People can place phone calls through the telecommunications relay service using almost any device with a keypad, including a laptop, personal digital assistant, and cell phone. Text messaging has also become a popular method of communication, skipping the relay service altogether.

Another system uses voice recognition software and an extensive library of video clips depicting American Sign Language to translate a signer’s words into text or computer-generated speech in real time. It is also able to translate spoken words back into sign language or text.

Finally, for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, captioned telephones allow you to carry on a spoken conversation, while providing a transcript of the other person’s words on a readout panel or computer screen as back-up.

What types of alerting devices are available?

Alerting or alarm devices use sound, light, vibrations, or a combination of these techniques to let someone know when a particular event is occurring. Clocks and wake-up alarm systems allow a person to choose to wake up to flashing lights, horns, or a gentle shaking.

Visual alert signalers monitor a variety of household devices and other sounds, such as doorbells and telephones. When the phone rings, the visual alert signaler will be activated and will vibrate or flash a light to let people know. In addition, remote receivers placed around the house can alert a person from any room. Portable vibrating pagers can let parents and caretakers know when a baby is crying. Some baby monitoring devices analyze a baby’s cry and light up a picture to indicate if the baby sounds hungry, bored, or sleepy.

What research is being conducted on assistive technology?

Researchers are developing devices that help people with varying degrees of hearing loss communicate with others. One team of researchers has developed a portable device in which two or more users type messages to each other that can be displayed simultaneously in real time. Another team is designing an ALD that amplifies and enhances speech for a group of individuals who are conversing in a noisy environment.

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Though infants and young children lack the ability to voluntary respond to acoustic stimuli, this does not mean their hearing can not be tested.

You’ve been told that your child needs to have their hearing checked. This can be a scary time especially when your baby is just a few days old. We understand how you’re feeling and rest assured we’ll promise to answer all your questions and to make sure your visit with us is as stress free as possible.

Regardless of your child’s age, there are safe, effective and accurate tests that can be used to determine how well your child hears.

Newborns and Infants

In the United States, approximately 3 of 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss.

Prior to the development of new technology in hearing testing, parents had to wait until their child was old enough to take a formal hearing test in order to check for hearing loss. Many children were not identified with significant hearing loss until the age of two or older.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening allows hearing testing within the first days of life. Newborn screening is simple and painless, and could make a significant difference to a child’s future.

OAE screening procedures for newborns and infants do not require the baby to respond. A miniature earphone and microphone are placed in the ear, sounds are played and a response is measured. The normal ear responds with an echo that is picked up by the microphone. When a baby has a hearing loss, no echo can be measured.

OAE screening procedures can screen each ear individually.

About 10 percent of babies do not pass the hospital OAE screening. This is likely due to a blockage of the ear canal with birth fluids or debris, fluid in the middle ear, or movement and/or crying during the test.

Most babies will pass the follow-up hearing testing, however, it is very important to take your baby for follow-up testing. This is the only way to be sure that your baby is hearing.

Newborns that do not pass the hospital screening are typically referred for a follow-up audiologic evaluation. If your child does not pass the follow-up hearing test, he or she may then be referred for more in-depth audiological and medical assessment by the time they are 3 months old. These assessments will verify the presence of hearing loss and help identify options for treatment.

Important note: Please be aware that OAE is only a screening tool. It screens out higher pitched hearing losses and may miss a mild hearing loss or a reverse hearing loss.

Infants and Toddlers

Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA)

Once a child reaches the age of 6-7 months to 2+ years old, sounds are presented through a speaker or earphone. The child is trained to look toward the sound. When the child looks to the sound, he sees a moving toy or a flashing light.

As children mature they may be asked to point to pictures in a book, body parts, i.e. eyes, ears, nose, fingers, or objects in the room.

OAE testing may be utilized at this age if the child will tolerate the device in his ear for up to two minutes (the device is a small rubber tip and sometimes little ones just don’t want to still for 2 minutes!)

If a child will not tolerate headphones, sounds can be played through loudspeakers, however, only the better ear is tested, and a hearing loss in one ear may be unidentified.

Ages 3 – 4

At three to four years old the child can usually respond to a sound by placing a block in a bucket, pegs in a board, etc. With earphones on or in both ears, the child is taught to wait, listen, and respond.

Ages 5 and up

Most children once they reach the age of 5 can be tested using the same methods used with adults.

The identification and diagnostic process is closely linked with a comprehensive program of early intervention, insuring the availability of important auditory information during the early, critical years of hearing development.

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Noise, or unwanted sound, is a pervasive occupational health problem. Exposure to high levels of noise can cause hearing loss. The extent of damage depends primarily on the intensity of the noise and the duration of the exposure.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. Temporary hearing loss results from short-term exposure to noise, with normal hearing returning after period of rest. Generally, prolonged exposure to high noise levels over a period of time can gradually cause permanent damage.

Our hearing conservation program is designed to protect workers with significant occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment even if they are subject to such noise exposures over their entire working lifetimes.

Our center provides DOT employees with the following:

  • Hearing evaluations for DOT physicals
  • Employee baseline testing
  • Annual hearing evaluations
  • Monitoring of threshold shifts in accordance with OSHA regulations

Please contact us for additional information if you’re interested in providing your employees with hearing conservation services.

Our hearing conservation program is designed to protect workers with significant occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment even if they are subject to such noise exposures over their entire working lifetimes.

Ask the Audiologist

Staff

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Jamie B. Shumaker, Au.D. earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from Auburn University and her master’s degree in Audiology from the University of South Alabama. She completed her externship at the VA Medical Center in Birmingham with the completion of her doctoral degree from Salus University.

Dr. Shumaker has experience working with patients with hearing loss in both ENT and family practice settings. While she can see patients of any age, she specializes in adult and geriatric hearing loss, hearing aid fittings, and aural rehabilitation.

She is married to Casey Shumaker and they currently reside in Dothan. Dr. Shumaker and her husband are active members of their church, Pilgrim Home Baptist Church in Wicksburg.

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Robyn H. Wilkes, Au.D. earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Alabama. She completed her externship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center with completion of her doctoral degree in Audiology from Salus University.

Having worked in an ENT setting for many years, Dr. Wilkes has a lot of experience with hearing disorders in adults and geriatrics. She also specializes in pediatric hearing loss, hearing aid fittings, newborn hearing screenings, and auditory processing disorders.

She is married to Chuck Wilkes and they have two daughters, Sadie and Mary Charles. They are active members of Covenant UMC and currently reside in Dothan.