Texas Hearing Institute provides the latest and most comprehensive diagnostic audiology services available with state-of-the-art equipment. Pediatric audiologists with doctoral degrees provide a family-centered, evidence-based early intervention approach to achieve optimal speech and language outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing from birth to age 21. To enable children to maximize their hearing and receive the finest hearing care, our clinic is on the cutting edge of new, advanced technologies, which include hearing aids, osseointegrated devices, cochlear implants, and remote microphone solutions.
When hearing loss is detected, our pediatric audiologists provide unbiased counseling to inform families about their communication options. We support all communication modes within the Audiology Department. We work with families to understand the communication goals they have determined for their child and work together as a team to develop an individualized to achieve those goals. Texas Hearing Institute provides a full range of hearing aid, cochlear implant, osseointegrated devices, and remote microphone solutions.
Our top priority is to help every child gain access to sound, so they can learn to listen, speak, and communicate. We do this by collaborating with speech-language pathologists, physicians, and educators to support your child’s hearing journey.
Hearing – How the Ear Works
The fascinating conversion of waves of sound pressure into voices, music, and other everyday noises all occurs in our ears and brain. There are three components of our ears, each with a very basic purpose and function:
Outer Ear - This area acts as a funnel directing sounds to the ear drum.
Middle Ear - Here, sound is changed from sound pressure waves to mechanical energy through the vibrating of the ear drum. The tiny bones attached to the ear drum send it on to the inner ear.
Inner Ear - The fluid-filled labyrinth of the inner ear is where electrical nerve impulses send sounds to the brain for interpretation.
Sound is transformed into mechanical energy by the tympanic membrane. It is then transmitted through the ossicles to the inner ear, where it is changed again into hydraulic energy for transmission through the fluid-filled cochlea. The cochlea's hair cells are stimulated by the fluid waves and a neurochemical event takes place that excites the nerves of hearing. The physical characteristics of the original sound are preserved at every energy change along the way until this code becomes one the brain can recognize and process. The ears and the brain work together in a remarkable way to process neural events into the sense of hearing. In fact, we “hear” with our brain, not with our ears.
About Hearing Loss
Hearing and speech are essential tools of learning, playing, and developing social skills. Children learn to communicate by imitating sounds they hear from birth. If they have hearing loss that is undetected or untreated, they can miss much of the speech and language around them. This can result in delayed speech and language development, social problems, and/or academic difficulties.
Of every 1,000 births, two to three children are born with some degree of permanent hearing loss.
Every year in Texas, approximately 1,200 babies will be born with hearing loss.
More than 90% of children with diagnosed hearing loss are born to parents with typical hearing. About half of all children with hearing loss have no risk factors.
Children born with normal hearing can begin to have hearing problems as they grow older. These hearing problems can be temporary or permanent. It can occur due to infections, injuries, or exposure to very loud sounds. It is important for parents to continuously look for signs of hearing loss as their children grow up.
Signs of hearing loss may include the following:
- Your baby:
- does not startle to loud sounds
- appears to hear some sounds but not others
- does not turn toward sound after 6 months of age
- only turns toward you if they see you, and not when you call their name from behind
- Your toddler or school-age child:
- Has difficulty understanding what people are saying
- Speaks differently than other children her or his age
- Doesn't reply when you call his or her name
- Responds inappropriately to questions (misunderstands)
- Turns up the TV volume incredibly high or sits very close to the TV to hear
- Has problems academically, especially if these issues weren't present before
- Has speech or language delays or problems articulating things
- Watches others in order to imitate their actions, at home or in school
- Complains of ear pain, earaches, or noises
- Says "What?" or "Huh?" several times a day
- You cannot understand your child’s speech
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, don't wait to act. Hearing loss has an enormous impact on childhood language development, and untreated hearing loss can also add to behavioral problems.
If your child is showing signs of hearing loss or not reaching the milestones on the communication checklist, please give us a call to schedule an appointment to talk about your concerns.
We can identify the type of hearing loss your child may have, diagnose how severe it is, and make recommendations based on your family’s communication goals.
To learn more about our Audiology Department and its programs and services, click on the links below:
- Pediatric Audiology Services
- Special Programs
- Community Outreach
- Frequently Asked Questions