Audiology | Programs and Services

Audiology Services and Programs

Several evaluation and testing services may be employed by our audiologists to help effectively diagnose your child. If our team and your family decide that hearing aids will help your child, we will guide you through the evaluation and fitting process. We also offer hearing solutions for children who get little benefit from traditional hearing aids or who cannot wear them.

Among our services and programs, we offer:

  • Diagnostic Services
    Including Auditory Brain Response (ABR) Testing, Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Testing and Behavioral Testing
  • Hearing Aid Process 
    Including evaluation, fitting and hearing aid checks

Additional Services

Besides our diagnostic and traditional hearing aid services, we also provide additional services, including:

  • Cochlear implants
  • Pediatric Balance Center
  • Aural Rehabilitation Program
  • Bone anchored hearing aids

Audiology: Cochlear Implants

Watch a video as Michael Scott, coordinator of our Cochlear Implant Program, explains the benefits of the surgically implanted device.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device available to people 12 months of age and older with a severe to profound sensorineural (permanent) hearing loss in both ears and who receive little benefit from traditional hearing aids.

Our cochlear implant team works closely with families to determine the appropriateness of cochlear implantation, the availability of resources and appropriate implementation of rehabilitation for children affected by hearing loss.

We also offer services to patients who currently have a cochlear implant, including programming and troubleshooting of the device. We work closely with a patient’s educational setting and FM systems.

Audiology is a part of the cochlear implant team at Cincinnati Children’s that provides an interdisciplinary approach in evaluating and providing care for potential candidates.

Learn more about the evaluation process and candidacy for cochlear implants.

Watch a short video as audiologist Violette Lavender explains the process pediatric balance testing at Cincinnati Children's. 

Our Balance Center offers a team-oriented approach to diagnosing and treating disorders of the pediatric vestibular (balance) system. Children may be born with or may acquire a vestibular disorder – a disruption of the cues provided by the inner ear sensory organs, the eyes, and the feet (proprioception) – that affects balance.

Spectrum of Care – Conditions Treated

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Sensorineural hearing loss
  • Inner ear anomalies
  • Migraine with dizziness
  • Motor delays
  • Difficulty walking
  • History of ototoxicity (from medication exposure)
  • Motion sickness
  • Head injuries
  • Frequent unexplained falls
  • Gait disturbances

Testing

Because children may have difficulty expressing what’s happening with their balance, we offer tests designed to measure how your child’s vestibular system interprets cues from sensory information from the eyes, feet (proprioception) and inner ears.

We offer tests that help determine which, if any, part(s) of the vestibular system are causing the symptoms, including:

  • Videonystagmography (VNG) – Using a "scuba mask" type of head gear, a camera records the child’s eye movements as they follow a character on a screen and move into different positions.
  • Platform Posturography Test – The child stands on a special platform that measures their natural sway.
  • Rotational Testing – A camera is used to record a child’s eye movement as they are seated on a gently turning chair. Smaller children are tested while sitting on a caregiver’s lap or in a car seat. 
  • Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMPs) – Small electrode stickers are used to measure muscle changes in the neck.
  • Video Head Impulse Test (vHIT) – While the child is wearing special glasses, eye response during head movement is measured.

Physical Therapy – Vestibular Rehabilitation

The physical therapist will assess your patient for:

  • Static and dynamic postural control
  • Ability to keep vision in focus with head movement
  • Ability to tolerate various position changes

When needed, treatments focus on ways to:

  • Increase and improve safety and self-care independence 
  • Improve tolerance for movements that typically have been avoided
  • Improve visual-motor function with vestibular-specific exercise
  • Improve postural responses to various input

Why Refer to Us?

Our multidisciplinary Balance team works together to evaluate and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your child. This collaboration directly involves:

  • Otolaryngologist – diagnoses and treats the balance disorder and refers for appropriate testing
  • Audiologist – performs the hearing and balance assessments
  • Physical Therapist – completes a sensory motor evaluation, which includes sensory processing, oculomotor, and self-help skills assessments. 

We may also include specialists professionals in neurology, oncology, psychology, and neurosurgery in your child’s balance assessment if needed.

The Aural Rehabilitation Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, also called audiologic habilitation, is a complete program for hearing impaired children and their families. The program focuses on using a form of amplification to make the best use of residual hearing.

Play-based activities are used to teach the parent how to encourage auditory skill development by progressing through an auditory hierarchy and to create the best possible listening environment for their hearing-impaired child.

Auditory Hierarchy

Detection: The ability to respond to the presence or absence of sound.

Discrimination: The ability to perceive similarities and differences between two or more speech sounds.

Identification: The ability to label.

Auditory Comprehension: The ability to understand meaning of speech.

Aural Rehabilitation therapy helps to improve a hearing-impaired child’s listening skills and allows him/her to process spoken language more easily. The main goal of therapy is to enable the child to function to his / her maximum potential within a hearing society. The following factors may impact a child’s progress toward becoming an independent communicator: the age of the child when the hearing loss was identified, the severity of the hearing loss, parental compliance with therapy activities, and the presence of additional disabilities.

BAHA devices provide an option for children who cannot wear a traditional hearing aid due to congenital conditions, such as aural atresia and microtia, or conditions that cause drainage from the ear and could be made worse by an in-the-ear hearing aid.

Unlike a traditional hearing aid, which transmits sound through the ear canal, the BAHA device uses a titanium implant to transmit sonic vibrations through bones in the head. The inner ear translates the vibrations the same way a healthy ear translates sound waves.

Cincinnati Children’s is one of few audiology programs in the United States that has in-house BAHA implant surgery specialists. These specialists are able to perform the implant surgery and manage post-surgical care.

The team has direct contacts with BAHA device manufacturers, facilitating easy troubleshooting. Their experience and expertise with these devices also benefits families, as they can connect patients and their families with an array of support groups and resources.

The Division of Audiology at Cincinnati Children’s is also conducting research pertaining to the BAHA implant, looking at outcomes for patients of various ages. This information could lead to new ways of managing children’s hearing loss using this high-tech device.

Research Efforts

Our Audiology researchers are committed to developing novel treatments and technologies to better understand, identify and treat hearing loss and inner ear problems, including newborn screening and diagnosis. Read More

Health topics.

We provide information on your child's health specific to audiology, including conditions & diagnoses, tests & procedures and treatment options.

A toddler is prepared for a series of tests to ensure her hearing aids are functioning properly.
A toddler is prepared for a series of tests to ensure her hearing aids are functioning properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Division of Audiology provides answers to frequently asked questions, including short video explanations on some response testing and rehabilitation services. Read More

Patients and Families

We provide patients and families with several resources, including a glossary of terms, answers to frequently asked questions and links to online resources from the state and national levels. Read more