Kids & Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects approximately 17 in 1,000 children in Orange County under age 18. Infants and young children with hearing problems can have difficulty developing speech and language skills. Some babies are born with hearing problems, while children born with normal hearing can sometimes develop hearing problems as they grow older.

Causes

Hearing problems can occur because of ear infections, injuries, or diseases. They can be temporary or permanent. Hearing loss falls into one of three categories:

A conductive loss is caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the external or middle ear.
A sensorineural loss occurs when there is a problem in the way the inner ear or hearing nerve works.
A mixed hearing loss includes both a conductive and a sensorineural

Diagnosis

An early and correct diagnosis is critical for a child’s optimal speech and language development. Shohet Ear Associates offers a full range of diagnostic and children’s hearing loss treatment.
They include:

Audiograms – measure how well a child hears
Tympanometry – assesses the status of the eardrum and middle ear
Otoacoustic emission testing (OAE) – gauges inner ear (cochlear) hair cell function
Electrocochleography (ECOG) and Auditory brainstem response(ABR) – assess nerve signals in the inner ear.
Multiple auditory steady state evoked response (MASTER) – also known as ASSR, assesses multiple frequencies at the same time as well as binaurally, significantly reducing testing timeOur pediatric audiologist specializes in evaluating and assisting children with hearing loss and offers a full range of diagnostic testing and pediatric services.

Treatment

Treatment of hearing loss in children depends on each child’s unique needs.

  • Hearing aids can be very effective in helping to restore or enhance hearing. Fitting a child with our Orange County hearing aids as early as possible as well as with the most appropriate hearing instrument is our goal. We base our fittings on well researched algorithms that allow the child to make the most of their environment and maximize speech and language.
  • Hearing accessories such as smaller earhooks (a way to secure the hearing aid to the child), a lock on the battery door to prevent a child from removing the battery, and audio input boots for FM compatibility are all ways to make pediatric fittings successful.
  • We try to make wearing hearing aids fun for kids which is why we offer pediatric “care packages” that include a colorful backpack or pouch with tools needed to help kids and their parents care for their hearing aids, a stuffed animal, and an illustrated story to help children understand their hearing loss and hearing aids. In addition, we can provide support material for the child’s teachers and caregivers.
  • Children with profound hearing loss may benefit from a cochlear implant, which helps compensate for damaged or non-working parts of the inner ear. Even young children can be candidates for implants. Cochlear implants, coupled with intensive post-implantation therapy, can help young children to acquire speech, language, developmental, and social skills. Our goal is to implant children as soon as a severe to profound loss is identified and the child has failed to progress developmentally with traditional hearing aids. We value and invite input from the child’s educators and speech pathologists in determining the child’s candidacy and rehabilitation needs.

Ava website

Ava & Shari

My husband and I learned that Ava was profoundly deaf in both ears when she was five weeks old—it was very emotional for me. I wasn’t satisfied with our experience with the first specialist we saw, so when I heard about Dr. Jack Shohet, I wanted to meet him. I heard that people come from all over the world to be treated by Dr. Shohet. I walked out of my first meeting with him convinced I wanted him to perform Ava’s cochlear implant surgery. Not only did he have the expertise, but he took the time to answer all my questions. I never felt rushed. He was also the only one who could tell me why my daughter was deaf.

Dr. Shohet performed two separate cochlear implant surgeries on Ava. He was wonderful before, during and after the surgeries. Now that both devices have been turned on, the difference in Ava is amazing. She knows her name, she dances to music. If the door slams, she’ll turn around to look. At only 14 months, she talks a lot. Judging by my experience with my four other children, I’d say her speech development is right on schedule. If you didn’t see her implants, you’d never know she was deaf.

Rod Boone (5)

Mary B. and son Rod, 7

Dr. Shohet and Cheryl Tanita are so good with children! Rod was deaf in both ears and he just wasn’t hearing with his hearing aids. His speech development was not progressing. Dr. Shohet suggested a cochlear implant and at our initial consultation, he answered every one of my questions–2 pages worth! He performed the implant procedure nearly 2 years ago and the results have been terrific.

Cheryl has also been great. After Rod’s implant, she made sure his mapping was perfect—she wouldn’t let us leave until she found a way to make it just right. Now, Rod’s speech is normal. He was mainstreamed in Kindergarten and is excelling along with the rest of his peers. How can you ever thank someone for giving your child a ‘normal’ life?

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