About our services for Pediatrics…

Children are a very special group of patients, and when there are hearing difficulties, the impact on speech and language development and learning can be significant.  Sometimes the clues that suggest a hearing loss in children can be very subtle. Watch for the following:

  • Difficulty telling where sounds come from
  • An increase in the need to get their attention before speaking or to repeat things
  • Pulling or tugging at the ears (especially in very young children) can indicate either discomfort or a feeling that the ears are plugged
  • Turning up the TV louder than previously and/or louder than other family members would like
  • Responses inappropriate to what was said (suggesting that the child didn’t understand correctly)
  • Poor speech and language development
  • Carefully watching your lips rather than your eyes when listening to you
  • Concerns raised by the child’s teacher
  • Difficulties with learning

Some things place a child at higher risk for hearing loss.  In these cases, regular hearing testing, at least through the early childhood and elementary years, is important.  These risk factors include such things as:

  • Premature birth, low birth weight, or time in neonatal intensive care at birth
  • One or more ear infections in either ear
  • Chronic tonsillitis or problems with the adenoids
  • Asthma or allergies causing upper respiratory symptoms
  • A family history of hearing loss at a young age

Not all of these things indicate a hearing problem, but one should be ruled out whenever there are indicators suggesting the possibility of hearing loss, or if a child is at higher risk for hearing loss.

What to Do…

If you are concerned that your child does not hear well, a full hearing assessment with our audiologist can put your mind at ease by ruling out any difficulties, or guide you in getting the help your child needs if a problem exists.  We work with children to determine how they hear simple sounds, such as soft beeps, as well as how they understand words at both soft and normal listening volumes. We also assess the function of the eardrum and middle ear system where ear infections are most likely to cause difficulty.  Hearing losses that are the result of middle ear disease can usually be medically treated and the hearing restored to normal, so your child will be referred for appropriate follow up as needed.

What to Expect at a Pediatric Hearing Assessment…

A full hearing assessment for children can come in several different forms, depending on the age and ability of the child.  We are able to test children from about 6 months of age and older. Very young children will be held on a parent’s lap while small earphones, like ear buds, are inserted into the ears.   A variety of medium and soft sounds are delivered to each ear and the child’s responses are reinforced by animated toys and lights. This procedure is used for children under about age 3. For children from about age 4 to 6, the audiologist and your child will play with toys or play “hide-and-seek” with the “beep” sound.  We like to have fun with your child while getting the information we need about how the child hears. Older children normally respond well to usual adult hearing test procedures.

This exam takes about 30-45 minutes and includes:

  • A review of the child’s general and hearing health history, and your specific concerns
  • A visual inspection of the ear canals and ear drums
  • Hearing tests to determine the softest sounds and words a child can hear
  • An assessment of the child’s middle ear function

To determine the most suitable solutions for your concerns about your child’s hearing, a full hearing evaluation is essential.  The goals of the assessment are to give us information regarding:

  • The type and degree of any hearing loss
  • Whether medical intervention is warranted and appropriate referrals as needed
  • The most suitable treatment options if hearing loss exists (such as hearing aids)

Following your assessment, the results will be reviewed with you, along with our recommendations for treatment.  You are welcome to ask questions at any time during this process, as it is important that you receive the information you need.

Solutions available to address hearing loss in children…

If a hearing loss is identified, solutions to address it will be discussed with you.  These may include one or more of the following:

  • Educational information to help you understand your child’s hearing loss, how that will affect them, and how you can best help them
  • The latest technology in hearing aids in a variety of styles from leading manufacturers, and all associated support and services
  • Ongoing monitoring of your child’s hearing loss, performance with hearing aids, and any school-related or learning difficulties related to the hearing loss
  • Referrals or recommendations for other services (such as speech-language pathology, or Central Auditory Processing Disorder testing) as necessary

In cases of pediatric hearing loss, it is important for parents and families to have an understanding of how best to support and assist auditory development.  We encourage families to come to appointments, to be mindful of how their child responds to sound over time, and keep in touch to ask questions or seek assistance as needed.  You have our support as you work with your child to minimize the impact of his or her hearing loss.

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