Pediatric (Infant and Child) Hearing Services
Identifying hearing loss as early as possible is critical for the best outcomes! Providing great pediatric audiology services requires a well trained staff that is comfortable with supporting children and families. Hearing loss in children is diagnosed several ways. Most commonly children are diagnosed after a failed newborn hearing screening in the hospital, but sometimes hearing loss is acquired later and not caught until the child is older and has delayed speech and language development or is struggling in school.
The pediatric audiologists at Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center have experience and special expertise to test patients as young as six weeks old and older. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing is used for those who are too young to give a response to sound or are unable to give a response for a variety of reasons. Beyond ABR testing, visual reinforcement and conditioned play audiometry can be used to behaviorally test children until they are old enough to use a traditional hand raise response to tones.
Information obtained during testing can be used to determine other appropriate referrals, if necessary. Our audiologists work closely with the New York State Early Intervention program and the Committee on Preschool and special education to help every child reach their full potential.
It is important that any provider who works with children is well-versed in the most up-to-date technology and treatment options. Audiology services for children can include providing specialty hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHA’s, and FM systems. We work with a variety of pediatric friendly hearing aid manufacturers including Phonak and Oticon and work with families to select the best device based on the child’s needs. In addition, Early Intervention typically covers the cost of hearing aids for a child diagnosed before the age of 2.5 years if insurance does not.
Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center was the first and continues to be the only cochlear implant center in Western New York. Our cochlear implant audiologists work with the patient and their families to guide them through the process from diagnosis to implantation to initial sound stimulation and beyond.
Bone conduction devices include Cochlear America’s BAHA and Oticon Medical’s Ponto. Bone conduction devices pick up sounds much like a hearing aid, but then send them through the skull to the organ of hearing via vibration. These devices are appropriate for children with conductive or mixed hearing loss as well as single sided deafness.
Wireless and FM technology such as Phonak’s Roger Line can help the intended speech signal to bridge the gap of space and noise for hearing aid, BAHA, and Cochlear Implant users. Roger devices help to provide the clearest most intelligible signal to hearing aid users to help them succeed in different listening environments such as the classroom.
For school age children, audiologists conduct testing for Auditory Processing Disorders. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a deficit with how the brain processes and interprets incoming signals. Children with APD can have “normal” hearing. There are different categories of APD and each one has its own symptoms and recommendations for how to function with them. APD can impact multiple academic and communication areas including listening, learning, language, speech production, spelling, reading, socializing, and problem solving. BHSC has various resources to offer parents in order to recommend the best intervention options. Our Audiologists work with a multidisciplinary team, integrating the results of testing to devise a comprehensive therapy plan and provide strategies to the patient and those working with the patient in the home, school, or work setting.