Arizona Hearing and Balance Center provides comprehensive hearing healthcare for the pediatric population from birth to 18 years. Our office is fully equipped with state of the art and child friendly testing supplies to service pediatric patients. The physicians and audiologists are board certified in pediatric otology and pediatric audiology. Beginning with newborn hearing screening, our audiologists are able to evaluate and manage even the youngest patients and specialize in obtaining results from the most difficult to test cases. With a team approach, families can be guaranteed consistent streamlined care for issues ranging from ear infections to diagnosis and management of hearing losses of all types and degrees. We are a medical facility that will always try to determine the cause of the hearing loss and ensure that your child does not have a serious underlying problem causing the loss. This places us above other hearing centers, where a medical workup is skipped or you are referred elsewhere for medical clearance.
Failed Hearing Screening Follow-up Testing
When a child fails a hearing screening, whether at birth, at school, or in a pediatrician’s office, it is imperative that the child undergo a diagnostic evaluation with an experienced pediatric audiologist in order to rule out or confirm hearing loss. Dr. Fucci and the audiologists at Arizona Hearing and Balance Center are able to use a combination of subjective and objective evaluation measures in order to determine the most appropriate course of action for each individual child. Our areas of pediatric expertise include behavioral audiometric evaluations for all ages, otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing, sleep-deprived and sedated auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, hearing aids, bone anchored hearing devices, and cochlear implants. Arizona Hearing and Balance Center also maintains close working relationships with the Arizona Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program (AzEHDI), local speech language pathologists specializing in children with hearing impairment, and educational audiologists from the surrounding school districts.
Following a diagnosis of hearing loss, families are often overwhelmed and unsure how to proceed. Dr. Fucci and the audiology team at Arizona Hearing and Balance are here to offer guidance, facilitate the addition of other providers to the treatment plan (i.e. speech language pathologists, school audiologists), and help families get connected to local and national support organizations such as Hands and Voices and the Alexander Graham Bell Association. The pediatric team at Arizona Hearing and Balance Center provide care across the range of devices and are experts in device selection and recommendation. Families are counseled at length on care, use, and maintenance as well as tips and tricks for successful device use gleaned from years of experience with countless families. We look forward to working with your family to achieve the best possible outcomes for your child and to create the foundation for a lifetime of success.
Bone Anchored Hearing Aids
For some patients, traditional hearing aids are not as effective as bone conduction hearing aids. These devices require the insertion of a titanium flange under the skin during an operation that lasts only 30 minutes. It delivers sounds waves directly into the cochlea and is extremely helpful for conductive hearing loss and single sided deafness. It has FDA approval and is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurances. It is important to note that a medical facility offering surgery is the only place able to offer these devices.
For some children, the hearing loss is so severe that hearing aids are ineffective and cochlear implants are indicated. The United States Food & Drug Administration has specific criteria for implantation and the infant or child will go through extensive testing to determine candidacy. Goals of implantation include improving speech recognition and promoting the development of speech. The FDA allows us to implant children as early as one year of age. The earlier the child is implanted, the better the chance of speech development. Ultimately, we hope for complete educational mainstreaming with no need for sign language, speech therapy or educational accommodations.
Cochlear implant surgery is outpatient and is usually under one hour. About three weeks after the surgery, the implant is mapped or programmed. The child’s implant is mapped frequently in the early stages and less frequently as time goes on. Longstanding implant patients may only need to be seen yearly.
There are three manufacturers of cochlear implants that are FDA approved for use in the United States, and we use all three brands at our center. During preoperative counseling, we will discuss implant selection.
Arizona Hearing & Balance Center is the only cochlear implant center in the East Valley. We performed the first cochlear implant in the East Valley in 2001 and we maintain the highest number of active implant patients in the valley, giving our audiologists extensive experience with pediatric implants.
Concerns About Your Child's Hearing Or Speech Development
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing or speech development, take a moment to review these milestones for language development: www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart/
This information represents the average age by which most children (in monolingual households) will accomplish the listed milestones. Children typically do not master all items in a category until they reach the upper age in each age range; however, if you have answered ‘no’ to the majority of items in an age range, please seek the advice of a pediatric audiologist. Pediatric audiologists are uniquely skilled to evaluate each individual child and determine the need for additional referral to an otologist or speech-language pathologist.