Thousands of children are born with congenital hearing loss each year in the United States. The University of Miami Health System Children’s Hearing Program is a unique resource for these children. The family-centered program, part of the UHealth Ear Institute, offers comprehensive services for children from birth to 18 years of age.
One of the primary goals of the Children’s Hearing Program is early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI). Because the critical period for language learning is from birth to age 3, early diagnosis of hearing loss is crucial. Without appropriate opportunities to learn language, children with hearing loss fall behind their hearing peers in language, cognition and social-emotional development.
At the Children’s Hearing Program, a multidisciplinary team, including otologists (ear surgeons), audiologists, speech language pathologists, educators and other healthcare professionals, work together to address the distinct needs of children. They provide services ranging from hearing evaluations, speech therapy, education, research, family support and community outreach.
Newborn Hearing Screening
In many cases, your child’s congenital hearing disorder will be diagnosed shortly after birth during a routine newborn hearing screening. Also, during the process of the newborn hearing screening, the tester will identify factors that can increase the risk of late onset hearing loss. Late onset hearing in children means hearing loss that becomes detectable after three to six months of age. Audiologists will schedule follow-up diagnostic appointments at appropriate time intervals to make sure that late onset hearing loss does not occur without being discovered quickly.
Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation
In some less-severe cases of hearing loss, your child’s hearing problem may not be discovered right away. If the pediatrician suspects your child has a hearing problem, your child’s doctor will recommend a diagnostic hearing evaluation.
Genetic testing before or after birth can help uncover the causes of hearing loss.
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Testing
This painless hearing test measures how your child’s nerves respond to sound using electrodes placed on the scalp.
Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing
When you hear a sound, your inner ear also produces a very faint sound. This test checks the function of the inner ear by listening for the sound it creates when you hear.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Testing
This testing evaluates how your child’s brain processes sound. Your child will hear various sounds in soundproof room and will need to respond to the sounds in certain ways.
Working with a speech-language pathologist can help your child or teenager develop language skills.
Augmentative and Assistive Communication (AAC)
Your child’s audiologist may recommend using some type of augmentative and AAC to help them express needs, thoughts, and emotions.
Wearing a hearing aid may help your child hear better. There are many types of hearing aids available, and your child’s audiologist can help you and your child explore options.
If your child has substantial hearing loss, your ENT doctor may recommend a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted device that can improve hearing.
Auditory Verbal Therapy
Auditory verbal therapy (AVT) helps teach children with hearing loss how to effectively use sound and speak more fluently.
Music therapy can help children express their emotions as well as improve hearing in children with hearing loss.
Most children with hearing loss are born to hearing parents. Counseling can help families work through difficulties surrounding hearing loss.
Why Choose UHealth?
The Department of Otolaryngology ranks No. 9 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the department’s dedication to excellence in research, patient care and outcomes. The experts in the UHealth Ear Institute provide comprehensive and innovative care of ear, hearing, and balance disorders. This includes the Children’s Hearing Program and the hereditary deafness clinical and research group, where more than 15 percent of the known genetic hearing loss mutations have been discovered.
World-class care in an academic health system. We are recognized throughout South Florida and the world as a leader in treating conditions and disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. Backed by one of the nation’s top universities, our team uses the latest technologies and research-driven expertise to provide you with superior, personalized care and the best outcomes.
Home to the Ear Institute at the University of Miami. The Ear Institute is a global center for all hearing loss conditions, evaluations, and treatments, thanks to the patients who put their trust in us for their continued health care. It is also a primary location for continuing medical education and research by the National Institutes of Health.
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