Each year, approximately one of every 1,000 infants is born with severe to profound permanent hearing loss and six in every 1,000 infants are born with varying degrees of hearing loss. Early detection and intervention are extremely important for children because hearing loss at a young age can impair speech and language development.
The Audiology Department at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center specializes in the early identification and treatment of hearing deficits in infants and patients through age 21. Our audiologists work collaboratively with ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists to determine the cause of your child’s hearing loss so the proper interventions can be provided to ensure your child has the best outcome.
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Hearing Diagnosis and Treatment
The Audiology Department offers a broad range of age-appropriate testing and evaluation services for infants, children and adolescents. These tests can assess whether sound is being conducted efficiently, or if there is damage to the inner ear or nerve pathways. We can also perform tests to determine if the brain is processing what your child is hearing. Our goal is to accurately diagnose your child and determine the most effective treatment option to maximize their hearing potential.
After your child is tested, the audiologist will discuss your child’s diagnosis with you, along with recommendations for appropriate treatment. Depending on the type of hearing disorder, a hearing aid or other amplification device may be recommended. The audiologist will guide you and your child through every step of the selection, fitting, use and care of these devices.
If your child is diagnosed with any degree of hearing loss, we will refer you to appropriate resources including an ear, nose and throat specialist, ophthalmologist, geneticist, speech-language pathologist and to Early Intervention Services, if your child is under the age of three. If your child is over the age of 3 they may qualify for services through your local school district.
- Hearing aid evaluation and fitting, including cochlear implants
- Hearing assessments
- Behavioral hearing test
- Conditioned play audiometry
- Conventional audiometry
- Otoacoustic emission testing
- Auditory brainstem response
Hearing Aid Evaluation and Fitting
Before your child can be recommended for a hearing aid, he or she will undergo a series of testing to determine the etiology and severity of his or her hearing loss and the most appropriate treatment or therapy. A hearing aid may be recommended if your child’s hearing impairment cannot be treated surgically. A hearing aid can be beneficial for all degrees of hearing loss, whether mild, moderate, severe or profound.
Children’s uses verification equipment to make sure each child’s hearing aid processes sounds as close as possible to natural levels. It also ensures the hearing aid is compatible with other hearing assistance technology and educational tools used in the child’s classroom.
Infants as young as four weeks can be fitted with hearing aids and hearing assistive technology systems. As your child grows and matures, the hearing aid will also need to be adjusted accordingly.
Several types of hearing aids are available for your child. The most common are the behind-the-ear hearing aid usually recommended for infants and young children and the in-the-ear style usually recommended for older children.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
Hearing aids that fit right behind the ear offer many benefits, including:
- Accommodates various ear mold types
- Ear mold detaches and can be easily modified as the child grows
- Easy to handle and clean
- Ability for parents and caregivers to perform listening checks and make adjustments
- Can accommodate a wide variety of hearing losses
- Can be made with direct audio input or a telecoil allowing it to be used with other listening devices
- Ear molds are made of a soft material that is comfortable for tiny ears
Cochlear implants are hearing aids for children with severe hearing loss, who don’t get the help they need from a traditional hearing aid. Cochlear implants use electrical signals that stimulate the hearing nerve and transport information to your child’s brain. This process does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it gives your child’s brain the tools it needs to process and understand sound and speech.
Learn more about cochlear implants and the Cochlear Implant Program at Children’s.
After Choosing a Hearing Aid
Once you have chosen a hearing aid, our audiologist will set the hearing aid based on the results of your child’s hearing tests. The hearing aids come with a minimum two-year warranty that covers all repairs and follow-up visits during that period. Initially, your child may need to be seen multiple times during the first few months for adjustments and education and counseling. After that, follow-up visits are recommended every six to 12 months.
Trying to find us?
Specialty Pediatric Center
84th St. and West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114
Cynthia A. Johnson
Elysa A. Binger
What To Do Next
To schedule an appointment with Audiology, please call 402-955-6799 and choose option 4.
For Referring Providers
The Physicians’ Priority Line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).
Learn more about referring patients.