Pediatric Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital conditions in the United States. UNC Children’s offers expert help in making speech and sounds accessible to your child, so s/he can effectively learn language and communication skills.

North Carolina’s Pediatric Hearing Loss Experts

The Carolina Children’s Communication Disorders Program (CCCDP) is one of the largest programs for children with hearing loss in the world. We serve more than 1,000 children, birth to 21 years of age, from North Carolina and surrounding states.

Your child will benefit from the experience of certified pediatric audiologists who have the expertise and technology to identify hearing loss early. Then, your care team will work with you to create and implement an effective intervention plan tailored to your child. With early identification and intervention, children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be on par with their hearing peers by age 3.


Audiology Services We Offer

Rely on UNC Children’s for comprehensive diagnostic and interventional services for all types of hearing loss. Ask about:

  • • Newborn hearing screenings
  • • Comprehensive hearing evaluations
  • • Listening and spoken language (LSLS) auditory verbal therapy
  • • Earmold services, including earmolds for hearing aids and swimming
  • • Assistive technology evaluations and fittings
    • o Digital programmable hearing aids
    • o Bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA)
    • o Cochlear implant program
    • o FM systems
  • • Parent education, counseling and support


Hearing Tests For Children

Your newborn should get a hearing screening before leaving the hospital. If results show your baby may have hearing loss, or if you notice signs of hearing loss as your child grows, make an appointment with one of UNC Children’s pediatric audiologists for a comprehensive evaluation of hearing and auditory function. Take advantage of a wide range of diagnostic tests, including:

  • Acoustic reflex testing – Assesses how well the ear responds to loud sounds
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing – Checks the brain’s response to sound (a baby can be sleeping during this test)
  • Behavioral hearing tests – Observe your child’s response to certain sounds, such as speech or tones
    • Convention audiometry – Asks your child to raise a hand or speak when s/he hears a sound
    • Play audiometry – Uses a listening game to test hearing in preschool-aged children
    • Vision reinforcement audiometry (VRA) – Encourages a baby or young toddler to turn toward a sound s/he hears
  • Otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing – Checks the inner ear response to sound (a baby can be sleeping during this test)
  • Tympanometry – Measures how your child’s ear reacts to sounds and pressures to detect an eardrum perforation or fluid or wax buildup


Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program

If your child can’t hear well with hearing aids, s/he may be eligible for a cochlear implant—a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to someone experiencing severe or profound deafness.

You can trust our expertise, because UNC Children’s physicians place more than 100 cochlear implants each year. We were also among a collaborative of just six medical centers involved in the first long-term, nationwide study examining the best age to give a young child a cochlear implant.

After the implant is placed, your child will benefit from individualized therapy with an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, early interventionist and/or teacher of the hearing impaired. We’ll help him or her:

  • Identify sounds
  • Focus on listening
  • Learn to speak more clearly

You’ll get help with every aspect of cochlear implant care, including device programming and monitoring. If you need financial assistance, you may qualify for our grant program for North Carolina families who have children with hearing loss.

Learn more about UNC Children’s pediatric cochlear implant program.

CASTLE Program

Find high-quality programs for your child through CASTLE—the Carolyn J. Brown Center for the Acquisition of Spoken Language Through Listening Enrichment. This public/private partnership offers comprehensive services to children who are deaf or hard of hearing, their families and educators. Ask about:

  • Listening and spoken language (LSLS) auditory verbal therapy
  • Mommy & Me language group
  • Parent education, counseling, and support
  • REACH (Reaching for Early Access for Children with Hearing Loss) tele-therapy
  • Toddler class

Make an Appointment

Call 984-974-4479 to schedule an appointment with a pediatric audiologist at UNC Children’s.

Boy hears his father’s voice for the first time

A first-of-its-kind surgery at UNC restored 3-year-old Grayson’s hearing and led to this touching moment, now seen the world over.

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