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Pediatric audiologists focus on diagnosing specific types of hearing loss in children. At Cook Children's, our audiologists work closely with your child, as well as family, speech pathologists, school personnel and physicians to enhance functional hearing to help your child learn and develop.
Hearing and speech are essential to learning for children. Most babies are born with normal hearing but every year three out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss. This loss can be in one or both ears. Hearing loss many times affects how your child's brain develops. Hearing loss can also lead to a delay in speech and language development. Social-emotional development and academic performance at school is often affected, too.
Signs and symptoms of hearing loss in children can be different for every child. If your child was born with hearing loss, it is most often discovered during a newborn hearing screening in the hospital shortly after birth. Most of the complications of hearing loss can be prevented if your child is diagnosed by 3 months of age and appropriate treatment begins before your child is 6 months old. If the hearing loss happened after your child was born, you might be one of the first people to notice hearing or speech difficulties.
Pediatric aural rehabilitation services are provided by LSLS, certified auditory-verbal therapists or speech-language pathologists who have specific mentoring and training in auditory-verbal therapy strategies and techniques. For more information, please see links to: Speech Therapy and Cochlear Implant Program.
There are three main types of hearing loss. These types of hearing loss can be present at birth or acquired after birth.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL): This type of hearing loss is related to the inner ear or the neural connection to the brain.
Conductive Hearing Loss (CHL): This type of hearing loss occurs in the outer or middle ear.
Mixed Hearing Loss (MHL): This is simply a combination or mix of both SNHL and CHL.
Hearing loss in children can be present at birth (congenital) or acquired later in childhood.
Loud noise and sounds can be damaging to a person's hearing. The level of noise and the length of time you listen can put your and your child at risk for noise-induced hearing loss. Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel (dB) number the more at risk you are for this type of hearing loss. Sounds that are louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss.
Hearing aids – These electronic, battery-operated devices can amplify and modify for your child. A wide variety of colors and styles are available for you and your child. A Cook Children's pediatric audiologist will be there to guide you in this process.
Cochlear implants – This is a surgically placed device that helps to transmit electric stimulation to the inner ear. Only certain types of children are candidates for this type of device, the most likely candidates are children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Find more information about cochlear implants.
Bone anchored devices – This is a device for children with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single sided deafness (SSD). A bone anchored device can be utilized after birth like a hearing aid or it can be implanted later by an otologist.
If my child wears hearing aids, will they learn to talk?
There are many things that determine if your child with hearing loss will learn to talk. First your child must wear their hearing aids or implant processor during all waking hours of each day. Second you must give your child continuous auditory input – talk to your child, describe what you're doing all day, and read to them every day. Other developmental delays can delay your child's speech development despite proper hearing aid use and good auditory input. Your child's audiologist can help you through this process. Cook also offers a parent support group for hearing loss where you can also learn from other families.
Is earwax normal?
Ear wax is normal. It protects and moisturizes your ears. It is completely normal to have a small amount of ear wax in your ears. If ear wax completely fills the ears, it can cause a slight hearing loss. Hearing will return to normal once the wax is removed.
How do I remove earwax?
It is best to let a licensed medical professional remove ear wax from your child's ears. Putting objects in your child's ears can permanently damage their ears and hearing.
How are you going to test my baby's/toddler's/child's hearing?
Cook Audiologists are experts in testing hearing in children. They will customize testing based on your child's developmental level.
How I prepare my child for an ABR?
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing helps an audiologist get information about the hearing system when infants are too young to respond or previous testing has been unsuccessful for older children. ABR testing requires your child to sleep soundly throughout the test. The appointments for unsedated ABR testing are two hours long to make sure you have time to get your baby sound asleep and ensure good test results. It is important you bring your infant tired and ready for a nap. Feeding right before your appointment time or right when you arrive for your appointment is recommended to help get your baby comfortable and ready for sleep. Sedated ABR tests are completed only at the Main Hospital location in Fort Worth, Texas. Because of anesthesia, your child will have eating and drinking restrictions for the test. A representative from the hospital will call you prior to your appointment with those specific details.
How do I schedule an appointment or follow-up appointment?
Call 682-885-3898 for new appointments or follow-up appointments.
How much does a hearing test cost?
The age and developmental status of your child will determine which procedures are likely to occur during your child's appointment. Once your appointment is booked, the scheduling professional can help you determine an estimated cost for your child's appointment.
How often does my child need to return for follow-up visits after hearing aids are fit?
Once your child is fit with hearing aids, your child will need an initial follow up appointment in 4 to 6 weeks. Depending on the age of your child, follow up appointments will be set at 3 month, 6 month, or yearly intervals.
When will I find out the test results?
Once testing is complete, the audiologist will go over the results with you and make recommendations before you leave the appointment. You will be given time to ask questions and give feedback about the results as well.
Will my insurance cover the procedure and/or hearing aids?
Each insurance company has different coverage for hearing aids. Once your child has been tested and your audiologists makes recommendations our insurance reimbursement specialist can help you determine what your insurance covers.
My amplification is broken, what do I do?
If your child's hearing aids or earmolds are broken, you may drop off the broken hearing aids at your audiologist's office or call 682-885-3898 to make an appointment with your audiologist.
My child needs new earmolds, what do I do?
Please call 682-885-3898 to make an appointment with your audiologist.
How do I let school know the results of today's recommendations?
The audiologist will provide information for your school when hearing aids or other devices are fit on your child. You can also fill out a Release of Information to have copies of your child's results sent to the child's school directly from Cook Medical Records at 682-885-1012.
Can I have a copy of today's test?
Your audiologist will provide a family friendly information sheet of the testing results at the end of the appointment. This information sheet gives the hearing results and recommendations for your child.
If your child has been recommended to us, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-4063.