The Hearing Center

Our goal is to provide comprehensive hearing care for children and adults throughout their hearing journey that enhances the richness of language and connection, both with their families and the world around them.

About our program

The Hearing Center at Dell Children’s is a comprehensive hearing program offering collaborative care using a multidisciplinary approach among otolaryngologists, audiologists, speech and auditory verbal therapists, for the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with hearing loss.

We offer the most comprehensive program in Central Texas for infants, children and adults with hearing loss. Although we serve anyone with hearing loss, our subspecialized training is in pediatrics. Our broader team includes ongoing collaboration with hearing professionals from area school districts and in the community through monthly round table discussions of each child’s unique case so that each family’s goals are achieved and the child’s potential is maximized. At our center, we help connect you with other families who have children with hearing loss, so that you have someone to help guide you through the process from a parent perspective. We embrace all abilities and communication choices.

The center’s team approach assures that each patient’s care is thorough and comprehensive; from initial evaluation to rehabilitation. We are HEAR for you.

  • Helping
  • Evidence Based
  • Available
  • Receptive

Types of patients

Our center treats newborns, children and adults who have hearing loss and who have been referred by a primary care provider.

If you suspect your newborn has hearing loss, take your child to see an audiologist for a more complete and thorough hearing test. It’s important to find out if your child has a hearing loss as early as possible, so that your child learns to effectively communicate with you and get the appropriate care.

Importance for Central Texas. Why should you choose us?

Most infants are screened at birth through the Texas Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program; however, we do not have documented follow up care for many infants who failed their newborn hearing screening at birth. There are many reasons for this, including a limited understanding of the diagnostic hearing loss process, access to care challenges, and an incomplete understanding of the importance of language acquisition and communication. Our goal is to assist these children, and their families to optimize their ability to communicate both within the family unit and the world around them, whether it be hearing augmentation, American Sign Language (ASL), or a combination of these modalities.

In the US, many people (ages 12-80+), have some degree of hearing loss; most go undetected and are undermanaged. Hearing loss in adults is associated with social isolation and increased co-morbidities, like high blood pressure or heart disease. Our mission is to assist these clients throughout their hearing loss journey, by finding better access to care, care coordination, and the optimization of language and communication.

Why are we so unique?

We provide a full spectrum of hearing care onsite that includes:

  • Collaborative, multi-disciplinary care
  • Medical and audiological diagnostics and management
  • Hearing augmentation via hearing aids, bone-anchored hearing devices (BAHA), and cochlear implants
  • Rehabilitative hearing care including speech and auditory-verbal therapy
  • Coordination of complex hearing care to include coordination of services, educational, individual and family counseling

Our team is dedicated to providing the best care possible for your child. We will also ensure that you, as the parent, leave every visit feeling confident in the care your child receives and the progress your child makes throughout their hearing journey.

Common Types/Causes of Hearing Loss

  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL) – A type of hearing loss caused by damage to the sensory organ or the vestibulocochlear nerve. 90% of reported hearing loss is SNHL. It is usually permanent and can range from mild to total hearing loss.
  • Conductive hearing loss – Occurs when there is a disorder with the outer or middle ear which interferes with the passing sound to the inner ear. It is more common in children than adults.
  • Mixed hearing loss – Occurs when both conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss are present. The sensorineural component is permanent, while the conductive component can either be permanent or temporary.
  • Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder – Difficulty of the transmission of sound from the inner ear to the brain.
  • Speech disorder – A disorder which prevents the child from effectively communicating and being understood by a communicative partner.

Common Treatments/Hearing Devices

  • Hearing aids – Devices worn on the ears that make sounds louder in order for your child to hear the sounds they are missing due to hearing loss.
  • Bone-anchored implants – Device worn on the head to give sound access for children with conductive hearing loss.  They work by sending sound through the bone directly to the cochlea (organ of hearing) by bypassing the areas causing the hearing loss.
  • Cochlear implants – Surgically implanted device that works with an external processor (worn on the ear) to directly stimulate the cochlea (organ of hearing) to provide access to sound. They are used for children and adults who do not get enough benefit from hearing aids.
  • Speech and language therapy – Intervention that enhances the communicative potential of a patient through listening and spoken language or other means of communication. Caregiver involvement is crucial for best outcomes.
  • Auditory verbal therapy – Intervention designed to teach a child to use their hearing (provided by a hearing aid or a cochlear implant) for understanding speech, learning to talk, and learning to listen. Caregiver involvement is crucial for best outcomes.
  • Educational plan – A plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
  • Audiology diagnostics – Testing that allows an audiologist to decide if a hearing loss is present, what part of the ear that is causing the hearing loss and is used as part of a battery of test to determine best ways to treat the hearing loss.
  • Device programming – Programming a hearing device so that hearing levels are optimized.
  • Coordination of complex care – Collaboration among various specialists to manage the care of a patient.
  • Counseling and family care – Counseling the entire family that empowers primary caregivers to accomplish best outcomes for the patient.