Tests and Treatments at the Chronic Ear Clinic at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

At UPMC Children's Hospital, we offer many advanced tests and treatments that you can only find at specialized ear centers.

The staff in our Chronic Ear Clinic:

  • Takes time to explain all tests and treatments and answer any questions you may have.
  • Strives to provide child- and family-friendly care.
  • All have special training in caring for children.

Contact The Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology at UPMC Children's

  • Call 412-692-5460 to make an appointment.

Tests for Diagnosing Your Child's Ear Problem

With our advanced equipment and experts in children's inner ear care, you can expect a timely and proper diagnosis.

Ear microscopy

We use a powerful microscope to magnify the inside of your child's ear. Your child will be awake and lying down.

This painless procedure allows us to see tiny structures in the inner ear and diagnose your child's condition.

Hearing test

An audiologist measures all aspects of hearing, such as:

  • The range of pitches your child can hear (from high or low).
  • How loudly or softly your child hears sounds.

Treatments for Your Child's Ear Problems

We offer a range of surgeries and other treatments to improve your child's health and hearing.

Tympanoplasty surgery

This surgery repairs a hole in the eardrum that isn't healing on its own.

Holes may form in the eardrum due to an infection or injury.

Your child will be under general anesthesia and sleep through the procedure.

Surgeons use gel, paper, or a piece of cartilage to patch the eardrum. They mostly take cartilage from a discreet area near the ear's opening.

Your doctor may suggest tympanoplasty for your child to treat recurrent ear infections.

Closing the hole can stop bacteria from entering the middle ear. It can also improve hearing.

Mastoidectomy surgery

The mastoid bone is behind the ear and has hollow spaces. An infection or skin growth, known as a cholesteatoma, can fill those spaces and weaken the bone.

Your child will have anesthesia so they don't feel pain.

With a mastoidectomy, the surgeon:

  • Makes an incision behind the ear.
  • Takes out the diseased part of the bone so the infection or growth can't keep spreading.

Ossicular reconstruction

Three connected bones in the middle ear transmit vibrations and play a vital role in hearing. Repeated ear infections, injury, or surgery can damage part or all of these bones.

Your surgeon will remove all or part of the damaged bone and replace it with titanium or plastic.

Your child will be under general anesthesia for the surgery.

Ear tubes

Doctors place tiny tubes through the eardrum to help drain and air out the middle ear.

Ear tubes:

  • Often improve hearing loss from fluid build-up behind the eardrum.
  • Can resolve recurring or chronic ear infections.
  • Are either plastic or metal and will fall out on their own after six months to one year.

Your child's doctor will keep an eye on this. Since the tubes are so tiny, they may fall out without your child knowing. Or they may fall out and get stuck inside the ear in wax. The hole the tubes make in the eardrum normally heals on its own.

We'll follow up with you to make sure the ear tubes resolve your child's condition.

Hearing aids

Damage to the tiny nerve endings in the ear or the nerve itself can be from:

  • Loud noise
  • Injury
  • Infections
  • Other health conditions

When this happens, hearing loss is permanent. Called sensorineural hearing loss, it differs from conductive hearing loss, which is due to a blockage in the ear.

For children with sensorineural hearing loss, we offer a range of hearing aids that amplify sounds your child has trouble hearing.

Hearing aids include ones that fit behind the ear and in the outer ear.

We offer bone-anchored hearing aids for children with ear deformities and those who don't have an open ear canal.

Your surgeon will attach the hearing aid to the skull to send sounds to the inner ear.

We'll train your child to hear with the hearing aid. We also connect you with speech therapy and check your child over time to support their developmental needs.

Otoplasty (plastic surgery of the ear)

Otoplasty (plastic surgery of the ear)

Surgery to fix ear deformities from birth or injury can improve your child's hearing and self-esteem.

The Chronic Ear Clinic provides otoplasty for more minor ear defects, including lop ears and prominent ears. UPMC's Congenital Ear Clinic works on more serious problems, such as missing ears.