Pediatric Audiology provides hearing diagnostic and rehabilitation services to infants and children having a wide range of hearing disorders. Pediatric Audiology works closely with UNC Hospital’s Infant Hearing Screening Program to identify and diagnose hearing loss within the first weeks of life. The identification/diagnostic process is closely linked with a comprehensive program of early intervention, insuring the availability of important auditory information during the early, critical intervals of hearing development.
The UNC Pediatric Audiology Team, under the direction of Patricia A. Roush, AuD, sees an expanding caseload of infants and young children with hearing loss. Since the North Carolina legislature mandated newborn hearing screening in 1999, the UNC program has seen an ever-increasing number of babies referred from newborn hearing screening programs throughout the state. As in other hospitals throughout the state, babies born at UNC receive a hearing screening prior to hospital discharge. At UNC, all infants in the well baby nursery receive a hearing screening prior to hospital discharge. Audiologist Patti Reitz screens infants admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Many of the children who were identified with hearing loss as infants during the early years of the statewide screening program are now entering kindergarten with speech and language skills on par with their hearing peers, due to the benefits of hearing identification and intervention. It is now common for many infants to be fitted with hearing aids at less than four months of age as compared to past years when children were often two to three years of age before their hearing loss was identified. In addition to following several hundred children with typical "sensory" hearing loss, the pediatric audiology team in conjunction with the UNC pediatric cochlear implant team is following over 200 children who have been diagnosed with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD). While ANSD is not a new disorder, newer test techniques in recent years have allowed us to more accurately diagnose it. ANSD presents new challenges in management for pediatric audiologists and the UNC pediatric team in conjunction with UNC otolaryngologists have developed an evidence based protocol for evaluation and management so that all infants diagnosed with this disorder will have the most effective treatment possible.
Please click on the "downloads" link to the left to view videos on pediatric audiology that were filmed at UNC.