Hearing problems, even those that are mild or transient, can delay your child's speech and language development. At the University of Michigan Health System’s Audiology Clinic we evaluate children with hearing issues, from birth through 18. We provide comprehensive hearing testing, diagnosis and treatment, often in conjunction with the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat).
Our services include:
- Newborn hearing screening and follow-up
- Hearing testing geared to the patient’s age
- Hearing aid evaluation, fitting and programming for newborns and children
- Hearing rehabilitation and early intervention
- Cochlear Implant evaluations and management
It is very important to determine an infant’s hearing status early by initially screening for hearing loss at birth. This allows for early intervention when necessary. Early screening can help prevent a variety of learning, social and emotional problems that can be related to speech and language development. Because we screen newborns 7 days a week we have a 99% in-house screening rate for all babies born at the University of Michigan.
Some of our referrals involve children who are having difficulty in school. Children may be missing bits of conversation or having problems with articulation or vocabulary. In such cases ruling out or determining the presence of hearing loss is very important for management planning.
Depending upon the degree or cause of the hearing loss the solution may include a hearing aid or possibly corrective surgery. If those options are ruled out a child may be a candidate for a cochlear implant. While a hearing aid essentially amplifies sounds from the outside, a cochlear implant takes sounds and transforms them into electrical energy which stimulates the hearing nerve more or less directly.
Our cutting edge diagnostic testing is conducted within the Audiology Clinic. Pure-tone testing determines faintest tones heard at a variety of frequencies. Speech audiometry involves listening to words to determine how well you understand what you’re hearing. Impedance audiometry shows how your middle ear is working mechanically. An auditory brainstem response is used to determine hearing thresholds by electrophysiological measurements in children who are too young to be tested reliably using behavioral methods. Occasionally we also do facial nerve testing in children, in those cases where facial movement is impaired from birth or due to an injury or disease.
Depending on your hearing concern, you may be seen only by an audiologist or also by an otolaryngologist. Audiologists handle diagnostics using advanced audiologic testing. They are also qualified to prescribe, fit and tune appropriate hearing aids and provide other non-surgical interventions. The audiological evaluation is part of the diagnostic workup. The otolaryngologist provides medical treatment, performs any necessary surgical intervention and may carry out or order additional diagnostic evaluations. The common goal of the audiologists and otolaryngologists is to preserve hearing and rehabilitate hearing loss.
It’s important that we make sure children have the outside support they need for their hearing loss, so we offer a comprehensive program called Sound Support to assist both children and their families. We work with physicians, audiologists, speech pathologists, teachers and other educational specialists in the community to improve outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. From the moment a child is first diagnosed to the ongoing management of his or her condition, we help to coordinate a multi-modal approach and to assist with referrals.