Pediatric Audiology

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Appointments 312.227.0480

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Care at 7 locations

The Audiology Department at Lurie Children’s offers comprehensive, collaborative and individualized hearing healthcare to children from infancy to young adults to 21 years of age. We provide state-of-the-art audiological services to diagnose, treat and habilitate children with hearing loss using evidence-based practices.

We provide the following services:

  • Early detection of hearing loss
  • Referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician for a medical evaluation, if needed
  • Fitting hearing aids and/or providing cochlear implantations
  • Assistive listening devices to improve understanding speech in noise
  • Referral for aural habilitation (hearing) therapy and speech-language therapy, if needed
  • Collaboration with community based physicians, audiologists, aural habilitation therapists, speech pathologists, classroom teachers and hearing itinerant teachers
  • Community resources and education to families and their hearing impaired children
  • A network for children with hearing loss and their families to connect and share their experiences

The Lurie Children’s Difference

Our team takes a family-centered approach to help you navigate the identification and habilitative process of treating your child’s condition. We offer a unique support group for families of children with hearing loss called Sound Experience. The meetings provide supervised play and social activities for the kids, and they also give parents opportunities to network and access educational resources. Sound Experience is an exciting, innovative program open to all children with hearing loss and their families.

We also offer a wide-range of family support services for you and your child, as well as their siblings.

What to Expect

Our audiologists will conduct an evaluation of your child’s hearing, which generally takes 45 minutes to an hour. The audiologists will:

  • Ask for your child’s medical history
  • Perform various painless and fun age-appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Share the results and give you a plan for your child’s treatment.
  • Consult with other specialists about your child, as needed
  • Recommend speech-language or hearing therapy, as needed
  • Refer you to the Cochlear Implant Program​ if your child is a good candidate
  • Talk with you about your role in your child’s treatments and therapies
  • Answer any questions you may have

Specialists

Our department includes 22 pediatric audiologists, including six audiologists who specialize in cochlear implants. We have a full-time social worker, one educational liaison, one hearing aid technician, a cochlear implant program assistant and five audiology assistants. Our audiologists are masters or doctoral level specialists. 

To give your child the best and most comprehensive care possible, we work closely with specialists from other divisions, including:

Our Leadership

  • Dahlia Klepac, MS, CCC-SLP, Director
  • Lisa Weber, Au.D, Department Manager
  • Joy Ringger, Au.D, Clinical Coordinator, Diagnostic Audiology
  • Denise Thomas, Au.D, Clinical Coordinator, Cochlear Implant Program

About Childhood Hearing Loss

Approximately three infants out of 1,000 are born with hearing loss each year. If hearing loss is not identified and treated early, it can impede speech, language and cognitive development. The State of Illinois mandates that all infants receive a hearing screening prior to discharge from the birth hospital.

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

The following are common risk factors for hearing loss:

  • Caregiver concern regarding hearing, speech, language or developmental delay
  • Family history of permanent childhood hearing loss
  • Neonatal intensive care (NICU) for more than five days
  • In utero infections, such as CMV, herpes, rubella, syphilis and toxoplasmosis
  • Craniofacial anomalies, including those that involve the pinna, ear canal, ear tags, ear pits and temporal bone anomalies
  • Syndromes associated with hearing loss or progressive or late-onset hearing loss, such as neurofibromatosis, osteopetrosis and Usher syndrome; other frequently identified syndromes include Waardenburg, Alport, Pendred and Jervell and Lange-Nielson
  • Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Hunter syndrome, or sensory motor neuropathies, such as Friedreich ataxia and Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome
  • Culture-positive postnatal infections associated with sensorineural hearing loss, including confirmed bacterial and viral (especially herpes viruses and varicella) meningitis.
Hearing Evaluations

We recommend hearing evaluations for children who:

  • Do not startle to loud sounds
  • Constantly ask people to repeat themselves
  • Have trouble paying attention and seem distracted
  • Have difficulty hearing on the phone
  • Increase the volume on their TVs or iPods
  • Are not doing well in school
  • Have missed or failed a school hearing test
  • Have a speech and language delay
  • Have had chemotherapy
  • Have tested positive after birth for herpes, varicella or meningitis
  • Have had a head trauma, especially a skull or temporal bone fracture that requires hospitalization

No child is too young to receive a hearing test. The specific testing techniques that are used depend on the child’s age, developmental level and cooperation.

Appointments

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.312.227.0480.

Our resources can help you prepare for your visit:

Externship

We offer a challenging and exciting 12-month pediatric externship for Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) students. The ideal candidate will be highly motivated, a strong team player and have a strong desire for a career as a pediatric audiologist.

Philanthropy

Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org or call 312.227.7500