What to Expect During Your Child's Chronic Ear Clinic Visit

If your child has an ear or hearing impairment, we can help.

At the Chronic Ear Clinic at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we diagnose and treat a range of complex ear conditions, including:

  • Ear deformities.
  • Chronic infections.
  • Middle ear damage.
  • Hearing loss.

Here's what you can expect before, during, and after your child's first visit to our Chronic Ear Clinic.

Contact The Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology at UPMC Children's

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

Before Your Child's First Visit to the Ear Clinic

Your child's PCP or specialist will refer your child to our chronic ear clinic. We'll call you to set up your appointment. Or you can call us directly to request an appointment at 412-692-5460.

During our call, we may ask you to provide details about your:

  • Child's ear or hearing problem and medical history. We suggest you write down your child's symptoms, when they started, and any prior surgeries.
  • Health insurance plan. The Ear Clinic at UPMC Children's Hospital accepts most health plans. But it's best to make sure before your visit.
  • We also suggest you aim to arrive 20 minutes before your first appointment, so you have extra time to find our clinic.

During Your Child's Visit to the Ear Clinic

You and your child will meet with a nurse to discuss your child's condition. Then, the doctor will perform an exam of your child's ears.

Depending on the issue, the doctor may use:

  • An otoscope, a tool with a light and magnifier, to see inside the ear.
  • A special microscope to look inside the ear while your child lies down. This tool magnifies the inside of the ear more than an otoscope.

Both procedures are painless and only take a few minutes.

Our ear, nose, and throat specialists will explain what they see inside your child's ear. We see you as a vital part of your child's care team.

In many cases, the doctor can make a diagnosis and provide a treatment plan after viewing the inner ear.

Treatments may include:

  • Surgery
  • Hearing aids
  • Ear tubes

In some cases, your doctor will order more testing, such as a CT scan, MRI, or both.

We can schedule these tests for a later date that works for you.

Same-day hearing tests

If the doctor suspects your child's condition affects their hearing, an audiologist will test your child. For your convenience, we offer same-day hearing testing in our clinic.

The test doesn't hurt. Our doctors are are experts at keeping kids engaged during the test.

Depending on the age of your child, we will ask your child to describe the sounds they hear.

For babies and toddlers, we place electrodes on the scalp that measure brain activity. We may also use a special microphone in the ear that records sound waves in response to noises.

If we decide one or more hearing aids will help your child, we'll take a mold of their ear. We send that mold to a lab to make a hearing aid that is the ideal fit for your child.

For kids who can't use normal hearing aids, we'll schedule surgery for a bone-anchored hearing aid.

After Your Child's First Ear Clinic Visit

Often, we book your next appointment, imaging test, or surgery before you leave.

We'll keep in touch to update you on any test results. You can also contact us at any time between appointments if you have questions or concerns.

We'll follow your child over time so we can be sure the treatment has worked.