Experts in Hearing Loss in Houston, TX
Hearing aids are designed to help individuals hear speech and environmental sounds more clearly.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that sits behind the ear. There are small microphones on the hearing aid, which pick up sound around them. Then the computer processor, within the hearing aid, processes the sound and sends it through the tubing/earmold to the child’s ear.
If your child has a hearing loss, your audiologist will work with your child and your family to determine if hearing aids would be beneficial and, if so, what kind of hearing aid would be appropriate for your child's hearing loss.
Your child’s hearing aids will be programed by one of our expert audiologists specifically for your child and their hearing loss. The hearing aid will be set to make sounds audible, but not too loud.
The loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB). Any prolonged exposure to loud sounds over 85 dB can result in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Below is a list of common everyday sounds and their corresponding loudness levels. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for NIHL to develop.
- 60 dB - Normal conversations or dishwashers
- 80 dB - Alarm clocks
- 90 dB - Hair dryers, blenders, lawnmowers
- 100 dB - MP3 players at full volume
- 110 dB - Concerts (any music genre), car racing, and sporting events
- 120 dB - Jet planes at takeoff
- 130 dB - Ambulances
- 140 dB - Fireworks
Every day, we are exposed to different kinds of sounds. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels. However, when you are exposed to loud noises over a long period of time, you may slowly start to lose your hearing. Hearing loss can also be caused by extremely loud bursts of sound, such as gunshots or explosions, which can rupture the eardrum or damage the bones in the middle ear. This kind of hearing loss can be immediate and permanent. Hearing loss caused by noise is called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Exposure to harmful noise can happen at any age. People of all ages, including children, teens, young adults, and older people can develop NIHL.
Activities such as target shooting and hunting, snowmobile riding, listening to music at high volumes through headphones, playing in a band, and frequently attending loud concerts can put you at risk for NIHL. Harmful noises at home may come from things such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and woodworking tools.
NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. Here are some ways to protect your child’s hearing:
- Know which sounds/noises can cause damage (those at or above 85 dB)
- Wear earplugs/earmuffs when involved in activities with loud sounds
- Turn down the volume on music players, sound systems, and televisions
- Move away from loud sounds
- Protect your hearing by wearing hearing protection (i.e., ear plugs, earmuffs) when around loud sounds
Texas Hearing Institute offers free hearing screenings in Title 1 schools and similar programs that serve children from low socioeconomic status (SES) household in the Houston metropolitan area.
The Texas Department of State Health Services requires all prekindergarteners, kindergartners, first graders, third graders, fifth graders, seventh graders, and any new students (age 4 years old through 12th grade) to receive a hearing screening through their licensed child care center or their school program.
Hearing Screening Services Provided:
- Hearing screenings are completed in accordance with Texas Department of Health guidelines.
- Audiologists and licensed hearing screeners complete the hearing screening. Due to their expertise and training, each classroom can be screened within 20 minutes, and up to 600 to 700 students can be screened in a day!
- If a child does not pass the screening, additional testing can be completed that day to determine the most appropriate referral for the child.
- Hearing screening results are provided the day performed to the school nurse, and in English or Spanish to students’ families.
Our goal at Texas Hearing Institute is to empower and assist school nurses and do our best to make sure every child in the Houston metropolitan area receives a quality hearing screening.
For more information and to apply for Texas Hearing Institute’s free hearing screening program, click here.
An FM/DM system helps children hear well with background noises and from a distance. It is important that children hear a speaker's voice clearly for optimal language development and for academic success.
An FM/DM personal listening system sends a speaker’s voice directly to a child's hearing technology. The system typically has two parts: one part connected to a child's hearing aids, bone conduction device, and/or cochlear implant, and another part that is worn by a parent, teacher, or another speaker.
An earmold is a soft customized earpiece that connects to a hearing aid and sends sound from the hearing aid toward your child’s eardrum.
To make an earmold, your audiologist will place a putty-like material in your child’s ears. It takes a few minutes for the putty to dry, and then it is removed, and the impression is sent to a company that in turn makes a custom earmold for your child.
Swim plugs are designed to help prevent water from getting into the ear canal. An audiologist may recommend swim plugs if your child has pressure equalization (PE) tubes, a history of chronic ear infections, or a history of swimmer’s ear.
To make your child’s custom swim plugs, your audiologist will place a putty-type material in your child’s ears. After the material has dried, the impression is removed and sent to a company that will make custom swim plugs for your child.
For children with hearing loss, early identification and treatment is crucial for their success. At Texas Hearing Institute, we believe it’s best for parents to choose the communication option that is most suitable for their child and family.
Unfortunately, parents often do not know the importance of early hearing tests or communication options when their child is diagnosed with hearing loss. Texas Hearing Institute’s Free Communication Options Counseling program educates parents about what to do when their child is diagnosed with hearing loss, and explains communication options so parents can decide what is best for their family.
- Coordination of services
- Materials and resources
- Parent education
- Parent-to-parent support group