Losing your ability to hear or having your hearing impacted in any way can tremendously affect your quality of life. It’s not only frustrating, but it can also be scary as you search for answers about why it’s happening, how to stop it and how to restore your hearing.
Hearing loss is the third most common physical ailment in the United States, behind arthritis and heart disease. Audiology experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, and elsewhere consider it a major public health issue. That’s why we’ve worked tirelessly to expand our audiology offerings as technology has moved forward, allowing us to better diagnose and rehabilitate the auditory system for people struggling with hearing loss.
If you’re ready to reclaim your ability to hear, participate better in conversations and enjoy life again, our audiologists, who specialize in the diagnosis and management of hearing loss, can help. At the Ohio State Wexner Medical, our audiologists are often the first people you'll see if you're experiencing hearing loss, and they can help you prevent further damage by recommending hearing protection devices. Whether you need your hearing tested or need to be fitted for hearing-aid devices, we offer a range of audiology services to cater to your specific condition and budget.
Audiology services we offer at Ohio State
- Hearing evaluations – A physical examination of your ear and a pure tone audiogram hearing test will determine the level of your hearing loss and which device will offer you the best experience.
- Hearing aids – Custom hearing aids are designed to fit your ear and improve your hearing so that you can once again participate in conversations and social activities. We can help identify if your hearing loss potentially meets the criteria for an over-the-counter hearing aid.
- Cochlear implants – Specialized evaluations will be done to determine if you’re a candidate for this surgically implanted hearing device. We also implant bone conduction devices (which are a different type of device) for those who can’t use traditional hearing aids.
- Hearing protection – Protect your hearing during your favorite activities, like swimming or construction work, using custom-fitted hearing protection devices.
Other hearing conditions audiologists help manage
Hearing loss can happen for a variety of reasons beyond genetics and aging. Our audiologists can help manage changes to your hearing because of diseases and conditions that affect different parts of your ear. They’ll collaborate with ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors at the hospital to treat and manage these medical conditions that could cause hearing and balance issues.
- Ruptured eardrum
- Impacted ear wax
- Vertigo, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
We work with a team of providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physical therapists to treat these conditions using hearing devices, medications, vestibular rehabilitation, surgery or a combination of those treatment methods. No matter what your hearing struggles are, we have the knowledge and skills to assist you.
Why choose Ohio State for audiology care
- Longstanding positive reputation: We’ve been successfully evaluating and treating people with hearing loss and ear-related disorders for decades.
- A dedicated team of audiologists: We have a committed, knowledgeable, highly experienced staff that conducts our hearing testing, providing a solid base of information to assist with your diagnosis.
- Knowledge of the latest technology: Our more than 10 full-time audiologists are up to date on the latest advancements in hearing devices, including cochlear implants and bone-anchored implants.
- Super specialists: Among our physicians are a group of neurotologists who are often referred to as “super specialists.” We are skilled in treating all diseases of the ear, medically or surgically. Many of the neurotologists in the state of Ohio are found here.
- National recognition: The Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best hospitals for ENT care.
Laura Feeney, AuD
Laura Feeney, AuD, earned both her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science and her doctoral degree in Audiology from The Ohio State University. She has been with the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery since 2007. She is certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology. Her clinical interests include diagnostic testing, hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Laura Garish, AuD
Laura Garish, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in 1992 and master’s degree from the University of Akron in 1994. She completed her doctorate degree in 2001 at the University of Florida. She worked as the director of Audiology in the Huntington Ear Clinic in Huntington, West Virginia, from 1994-1996 and joined the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 1997. Laura is a founding member, board member and treasurer of the nonprofit foundation, Project EAR, Inc.
Brenda Hall, AuD
Brenda Hall, AuD, graduated from the University of North Carolina with a master’s degree in Audiology. She received her doctoral degree from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2010. She has been a member of the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 1991. Her interests include working with patients with cochlear implants and hearing aids.
Meghan Hiss, AuD
Meghan Hiss, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science and her Doctor of Audiology degree from The Ohio State University in 2008 and 2012, respectively. She worked as a clinical audiologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Columbus Speech and Hearing Center before joining the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2018. Her clinical interests include diagnostic audiology, cochlear implants and the fitting of hearing aids and assistive technology. Dr. Hiss is a research audiologist at the Ohio State Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development. She is board certified by the American Board of Audiology and is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the Ohio Academy of Audiology.
Lauren Johnson, AuD
Kayla Kirk, AuD
Debby LaPrete, AuD
Debby LaPrete, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated from the Arizona School of Health Sciences with her doctoral degree in Audiology in 2009. Dr. LaPrete has worked at Ohio State since 1994, and specializes in providing services to recipients of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants.
Cari Mickelson, MEd
Cari Mickelson, MEd, graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Audiology. She has worked in a variety of medical settings for the past 25 years. Her interests include diagnostic audiology and hearing aid dispensing. Cari is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Alyse Ramirez, AuD
Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD
Melissa Schnitzspahn, AuD, received her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science from The Ohio State University in 1998 and her master’s degree in Audiology from Ohio State in 2000. She obtained her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2008. Melissa joined the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 2001. Her interests include hearing aid dispensing and cochlear implants.
Saul Strieb, AuD
Audiologist & Vestibular Laboratory Coordinator
Saul Strieb, AuD, obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Maryland. He received his doctoral degree in Audiology from the University of Florida in 2009. He served as an audiologist at the Washington Hospital Center from 2001 through 2011, before joining the staff of the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in 2011. His clinical interests include hearing aids, BAHA, vestibular assessment and treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Gretchen Waggoner, AuD
Gretchen Waggoner, AuD, earned her bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio University in 1994 and her master's degree in Audiology from Bowling Green State University in 1996. She earned her doctoral degree in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2006. She has been an audiologist in the Ohio State Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery since 1996. She is a founding member and secretary of Project EAR, Inc. She has participated in seven mission trips and provides diagnostic services and hearing aid fittings.