Partnering With ‘Texas Hearing Institute’ to Help Babies That Have Failed Their Screenings

A young boy getting his ears inspected during pediatric hearing assessment at Audiological Services in Lufkin, TX

Recently, there has been a rise in the number of newborns failing their hearing screenings. Unfortunately, the current advice is for families to travel over two hours to Houston for an ABR test, which can further complicate matters.

We strongly believe that this is an unreasonable and potentially harmful situation for families and the long-term hearing health of children across East Texas.

To address this issue, we have partnered with the ‘Texas Hearing Institute’ to offer ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) tests to babies who have failed their screenings, regardless of insurance coverage.

Using TeleAudiology, we can connect families with the ‘Texas Hearing Institute’ and benefit from their non-profit arrangement, ensuring that babies’ hearing health receives prompt and thorough attention.

If your child has failed their screening, and you’re eager to progress in the next phase of testing, then the team at Audiological Services can help.

Simply call us or complete the form on this page for more information, and to schedule your visit.

Child seeing a female audiologist

Frequently Asked Questions About Children’s Hearing Loss

Q. Should my child have regular hearing assessments?

A. Pediatric hearing loss screenings begin at age four years and screenings continue at school from kindergarten until the eighth grade, in alternating years. The widest gap in hearing loss screenings for children is among teens, who tend to be at the most risk for acquired hearing loss related to their hobbies, social activities, and personal habits.

Q. What can I do to help protect my child’s hearing?

A. Provide ear protection for children who are engaged in activities like swimming, surfing, and other water sports, as well as hobbies and social activities that involve loud noise. Monitoring volume levels on personal listening devices with earbuds or earphones is also necessary to help protect your child’s hearing.

Q. How do I communicate my child’s hearing challenges with caregivers and teachers?

A. You will have to become your child’s advocate within the schools. Our audiologists will help you present proper documentation to caregivers, teachers, and guidance counselors who are able to help coordinate caregiver planning and adjust learning strategies that will help your child be more successful socially and academically.

Q. Will my child’s hearing loss get worse?

A. Some forms of hearing loss are not permanent, but permanent hearing loss, when left untreated, will continue to get worse over time. Consequently, keeping a close eye on changes to your child’s hearing as they develop, identifying hearing loss, and following recommended treatment solutions are essential parts of limiting the impact of hearing loss on your child’s lifestyle and quality of life.

Q. How do I know if my child is experiencing hearing loss?

A. To help determine whether or not your child could be experiencing hearing loss, you should ask the following questions:

  • Does your child experience frequent colds and ear infections?
  • Does your child struggle to hear people when not facing them?
  • Does your child speak loudly, as if having trouble hearing himself/herself?
  • Is it pretty common for your child to turn up the volume on the TV or radio?
  • Does your child frequently fail to respond when called?
  • Do you have to repeat things several times for your child to understand you?
  • Is hearing loss common in your family history?
  • Was your child born prematurely? (earlier than 37 weeks)
  • Did your child have a low birth weight?
  • Did your child experience a lack of oxygen at birth?

Q. What should I do if I think my child is experiencing hearing or communication challenges?

A. If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a good chance that your child could be experiencing hearing loss. Your first step is to make an appointment with one of our doctors of audiology.

We have the expertise, experience, and equipment to accurately evaluate children’s hearing challenges and the resources to address the issues that can have a significant impact on his/her development. In fact, the sooner we’re able to identify and begin intervention, the less risk there is of impaired speech and language, limited social emotional development, and reduced academic performance.

Common Causes of Hearing Loss in Children

Otitis Media

This is the most common cause of childhood hearing loss. It is related to inflammation of the middle ear, just behind the eardrum and often into the Eustachian tubes.

Because the Eustachian tubes are smaller and less angled in children than in adults, they are more easily blocked and facilitate fluid buildup that leads to “conductive” hearing loss.

Symptoms of otitis media typically include an earache and fever, and treatment can involve the insertion of tubes to help with drainage. Interventions should be carried out as early as possible to prevent permanent damage to your child’s hearing.

Congenital Hearing Loss

Some babies are born with underdeveloped hearing, known as congenital hearing loss, which can develop at around 16 weeks in the womb. 50% or more of congenital hearing loss cases are inherited conditions.

Congenital hearing loss can be caused by prenatal infections, illnesses, and toxins consumed by the mother during pregnancy, or might include an infection within the womb, premature birth, gestational diabetes, toxemia during pregnancy, or a lack of oxygen (anoxia).

Acquired Hearing Loss

Acquired hearing loss is a form of hearing loss that develops after birth and can be the result of frequent ear infections, ototoxic drugs, meningitis, measles, encephalitis, chickenpox, influenza, mumps, head injuries, and frequent or ongoing exposure to loud noise.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is among the primary causes of acquired hearing loss in children, especially teens.

The use of headphones and earbuds at an excessive volume while playing video games and an endless stream of media via smartphones are among the most common causes of NIHL, but it can also stem from not having proper hearing protection during hobbies and activities that include excessive noise, like riding motorcycles and snowmobiles, attending concerts and major sporting events, and swimming or other watersports.

Why Trust Audiological Services for Pediatric Evaluation and Treatment

A couple with their daughters smiling

Your child’s hearing loss treatment begins with a highly accurate, comprehensive hearing assessment designed not only to identify the type and severity of your child’s hearing challenges, but also to provide the information necessary to develop a customized treatment plan to address your child’s unique hearing care needs over the long term.

What to Expect from Our Pediatric Hearing Exam

In order to get the most accurate results, there are a few things that you need to be aware of in order to make things easier on us, you, and your child, such as that you should avoid using hair gels, lotions, or earrings on your child on the day of testing.

For a diagnostic hearing exam carried out on a young child or infant, your baby should be tired and hungry. This allows you to feed your child or allows your child to sleep during the exam, making things go a lot more smoothly.

We conduct a series of tests that are age-appropriate to the child being tested, including:
Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
Most commonly used with infants and young children, ABR involves the use of a pair of tiny earbuds that fit into your baby’s ear canals along with an array of electrodes placed on his/her scalp. As sounds are transmitted into your baby’s ears, the ABR system will measure how his/her brain reacts to them.
Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions (DPOAE)

Similar to ABR testing, a DPOAE test involves the insertion of a tiny probe that emits a series of sounds at the entrance to your baby’s ear canal. The presence of a DPOAE response is an indication that the hair-like cells and cochlear amplifier are functioning properly.

Older children, usually from four years old and above, will undergo the same or similar hearing tests we use with adults, which may include:

  • Tympanometry
  • Pure Tone Testing
  • Speech Understanding
  • Bone Conduction Testing
Hearing professional inspecting a girl's ear using a otoscope

What to Expect from Our Ongoing Hearing Care

A new born smiling during hearing screening
In addition to accurately testing your child’s hearing and developing the right treatment plan to address your child’s unique hearing needs, our pediatric audiology specialists will put together an early intervention plan to limit the impact of your child’s hearing challenges on his/her growth and development ASAP.
Intervention plans usually include input from your child’s pediatrician, audiologist, otolaryngologist, and/or speech/language pathologist in order to provide coordinated guidance regarding various treatments and/or devices to address your child’s specific hearing challenges. These could include:
  • Counseling for children with hearing loss and their families
  • Professionals to teach better communication techniques for families and children with hearing loss
  • Fitting and programming of hearing devices, like hearing aids or cochlear implants
  • Family support groups
  • Networking and communication opportunities among families who have children with hearing loss

Schedule a Pediatric Hearing Assessment

We’re in a race against the clock when it comes to addressing hearing loss in children, because early detection and intervention make it possible to achieve the best possible outcomes and limit damage to your child’s growth and development.

Our pediatric audiologists at Audiological Services of Lufkin will accurately diagnose your child’s hearing loss in order to develop a treatment plan and ongoing hearing care to limit the impact of hearing loss on his/her lifestyle and quality of life.

To contact us, submit the adjacent form and a member of our team will assist you with scheduling a pediatric hearing assessment.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Name*
Lori Niedosmialek
Took my son here. He has cochlear implants and they are the only ones that work with cochlear in the area that I know of. Very friendly and professional. Definitely recommend their services.

Lufkin’s Hearing Experts
Answer Your Questions