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Pediatric Audiology

Mission Children's Hospital is dedicated to identifying and treating children with hearing loss. Children who receive early diagnosis of hearing issues and intervention have better outcomes than those who wait to be treated. Our pediatric audiologist serves children from birth to 21 years across any developmental level. There are opportunities for our team to serve adults with special needs, who may be best served with a pediatric provider.

Our pediatric audiologist appropriately assesses each individual patient through several subtests including looking in the ear with a light (otoscopy), checking middle ear function (tympanometry), and evaluating hearing ability (audiometry). In combination with other computer measurements, we can make a conclusion about hearing status. We offer a range of diagnostic hearing services as well as audiologic management plans based on the needs of each individual.

Why is hearing important?

Without access to or with limited access to speech and other sounds in the environment, we are unable to appropriately develop speech and language skills normally. This has a great impact on a person’s ability to read and write, in addition to their social skills. Hearing is an important part in children’s development for these reasons. At Mission Children’s Hospital, we work together to assess development in children with behavioral concerns and/or those who are medically at-risk for hearing to change.

Reasons to have your child’s hearing assessed:

  • Caregiver concern/unsure of hearing based on how patient responds at home or school
  • Referral on hearing screening (as newborn, with primary care provider, and/or at a school screening)
  • Speech or language delays
  • Developmental delays
  • Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss
  • Medical conditions, including but not limited to:
    • Trisomy 21
    • Cleft lip/palate
    • Meningitis
    • Turner syndrome
    • Usher syndrome
    • Exposure to ototoxic medications
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • History of ear infections
  • Complications at the time of birth, including but not limited to:
    • Prematurity (prior to 36 weeks gestation)
    • Assisted ventilation
    • Maternal infections
    • Extended hospitalization of 5+ days following birth

Diagnostic Services

Behavioral testing

  • Visual reinforcement audiometry
    • Patient sits on caregiver’s lap in the soundbooth
    • Headphones or earphones are placed in order to play sounds in each ear – if patient does not allow this, sounds are played from speakers in the room
    • The caregiver’s job is to sit quietly and not indicate to the child where or when to look for sounds
    • Hearing is evaluated by training patient to listen by lighting up a toy when the child turns to look following hearing a sound
  • Conditioned play audiometry
    • Patient sits in soundbooth with audiologist
    • Headphones are placed on patient’s ears
    • Child is taught to play a game (drop a block in a bin, place a peg on a peg board) when they hear a sound
  • Conventional audiometry
    • Patient sits in soundbooth independently with insert earphones or headphones placed on ears
    • Individual is asked to raise hand or say “yes” when they hear a sound or word
      - Objective testing: available to support behavioral test results and/or in the absence of behavioral test results per patient cooperation
  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Otoacoustic emissions
  • Auditory evoked potential evaluations offered via natural sleep (for those appropriate candidates) or via sedation on-site or at Mission Hospital

Audiologic Management

  • Behind the ear hearing aids
  • Bone anchored hearing aids
  • Referrals for cochlear implant evaluations
  • Referrals for Auditory Processing Disorder evaluation

Please note the pediatric audiology department is a teaching clinic so there may be occasions where a student accompanies the audiologist to learn how to evaluate hearing in children. We appreciate your flexibility and support in teaching the next generation of audiologists.

For patients needing auditory processing testing or cochlear implant evaluation, selection, and programming, we have a comprehensive list of audiologists in the state of North Carolina who may serve these patients.

A referral from your child’s primary care provider or other medical doctor is necessary for any visit.

Contact Mission Pediatric Audiology for any questions or to schedule an appointment at 828-213-9727. Referrals and other patient history can be faxed to 828-213-1625.

We look forward to serving you!


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