Pediatric Hearing Loss

The Minnesota Lions Children’s Hearing and Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is one of the largest pediatric otolaryngology and audiology programs in the United States.
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Hearing is an important part of your child’s life, affecting his or her ability to learn and interact with others. Your child’s hearing loss may be categorized into three separate types:
  • Conductive hearing loss results when sound is partially or fully blocked in the outer or middle ear, preventing sound waves from reaching the inner ear. This is common in children and can be caused by fluid or wax buildup, infection, abnormal formation of ear bones, or objects stuck in the ear. Many times, it is temporary.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells or nerves in the inner ear that carry sound to the brain. This type of hearing loss can be caused by loud noises, infection, medication, premature birth, or jaundice and is usually permanent. Children can also have mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Less common conditions include auditory processing disorder, in which the ear works properly but the brain doesn’t interpret sound correctly. Your child may have poor listening skills, difficulty understanding speech, or trouble with reading, spelling and vocabulary. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder occurs when the brain is unable to recognize and interpret sound correctly, causing words to be misheard.

Our Approach

The Minnesota Lions Children’s Hearing and Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is one of the largest pediatric otolaryngology and audiology programs in the United States. Specialists here provide a number of diagnostic tests and treatment options for children with hearing loss, including auditory brainstem response testing, hearing rehabilitation, otoacoustic-emission testing, electrocochleography, electroneuronography, tinnitus evaluation, and vestibular evaluation.

There are many exciting technologies on the market today to help your child hear. Hearing aids, including those that are bone-anchored, amplify sound for many children. In severe cases, physicians may opt for cochlear implants. Other treatment options include assistive listening devices and hearing assistive technology.

Treatments, Tests, and Procedures

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that partially restores hearing. To qualify, patients must have had at least some hearing in the past. While cochlear implants can help a person detect sounds better, the ability to make sense of those sounds has to be learned.
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Pediatric Speech and Language Therapy

If your child has issues with speech, language, cognition or voice, our therapists are here to help. Speech-language pathologists are therapist specially trained to work with your child to improve the ability to communicate with others.
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There may be other treatments, test, and procedures for this diagnosis, including:

  • Medical Management
  • Ear Tubes
  • Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation
  • Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids
  • Implantable Electronic Hearing Devices

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.