About the Program

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The Carolina Children's Communication Disorders Program (CCCDP) is part of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Department of Otolaryngology at the University of North Carolina Hospital and Clinics. Our pediatric cochlear implant program, which is independent of the adult program, is staffed by 4 full time audiologists, and is supported by a team of speech-language pathologists and teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing in our adjacent CASTLE (Center for the Acquisition of Spoken language Through Listening Enrichment) program. The CASTLE program is unique to our implant center. In addition to the model toddler program and individualized therapy available for children, CASTLE offers speech-language and hearing professionals learning opportunities through mentorships and continuing education programs. The CCCDP/CASTLE program has a long history of providing comprehensive clinical care to children who receive cochlear implants. We serve children with hearing loss from birth to 21 years of age and provide the complete range of diagnostic and habilitative hearing-related services. We have participated in a number of clinical trials over the years with all three cochlear implant companies, and we have been involved in additional clinical research related to various aspects of cochlear implant use. Currently, we are one of six cochlear implant centers involved in the Childhood Development after Cochlear Implantation (CDaCI) study funded by the NIH/NIDCD.

The CCCDP/CASTLE is a cooperative team of professionals currently serving over 1000 children. Our population of children comes primarily from North Carolina, but also from surrounding states and some international locales. Newborn hearing screening programs have been successfully implemented in North Carolina and many of our patients are referred to us as infants. We serve an extremely diverse patient population in social, economic, and medical backgrounds. Services include every aspect of cochlear implant care for children, including diagnosis, counseling, inter-operative monitoring of implants, and all phases of device programming and monitoring. Tracking patient performance with standardized clinical tools is a priority of our program. Ensuring that habilitation has been optimized by working closely with a child's local team of early interventionists and educators is also a cornerstone of our intervention philosophy.