Specialized Hearing Services for Children

Hearing Services for Children

The Pediatric Audiology Program at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center provides comprehensive testing, treatment and support services for children of all ages and their families.

Hearing Testing

There are a number of risk factors for hearing loss in children, so there are a number of reasons why a child's hearing may need to be screened or tested. Common reasons to schedule a hearing evaluation for your child include speech delay, frequent or recurrent ear infections, family history of hearing loss, or diagnosis of a learning disability or other learning disorder. In addition, some diseases, syndromes and medications can cause hearing loss.

Testing options include:

  • Newborn hearing screenings and infant evaluations
  • Behavioral and play testing
  • Pure tone audiometry
  • Balance and vestibular testing
  • Tympanometry

Hearing aids and other technology

For children newly identified with hearing loss, our goal is to maximize every child’s hearing potential.  Our audiologists have expertise in digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM Systems, BAHA, and other assistive listening devices.  The audiologists work closely with the families in selecting the most appropriate technologies to meet their child’s listening needs.

Providing amplification for a child with hearing loss is important for learning and development. Children learn every day and they require auditory information in that process. Providing auditory information, through amplification, will greatly improve their ability in many areas of their lives. The following are a few specific examples of the benefits of amplification: 

  • Better hearing allows improved acquisition of speech and language skills.
  • Children are better equipped to learn social relationships
  • Hearing aids provide improved ability to detect from where sound is coming
  • Improved hearing fosters improvements in school performance.

Treatment

Early intervention means starting a specialized program to help your child right away.  A child's brain is programmed to learn language during the first six years of life−the first three years being the most critical.  After this period, it is very difficult to learn language and speech. We provide counseling on communication and educational options and understand the unique needs of the adolescent population.  Treatment options include:

  • Speech-language therapy for children using all types of communication (listening and spoken language, total communication, sign language, or cued speech)
  • Parent-infant training for families using spoken language
  • A toddler program and the Mama Lere Hearing School for preschooolers learning spoken language
  • Educational transitioning and social work services
  • Family support groups and self-advocacy training
  • Intervention for children with auditory processing disorder
  • Dual language services for children with hearing loss who are learning English as a second language
  • Teletherapy with families and schools

For more information about hearing, hearing loss, and hearing aids in children, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's website: http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Hearing-Loss-in-Children/

Contact Us:

615-322-HEAR (4327) (Voice/TRS)