Congenital Ear Condition Test and Treatments

The Congenital Ear Center (CEC) at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is a referral center for children born with serious ear abnormalities.

Doctors, surgeons, audiologists, and speech therapists provide a range of services, such as:

  • Testing
  • Surgeries
  • Hearing aids
  • Treatments

Contact the Congenital Ear Center at UPMC Children's

To make your child's appointment, call the CEC at 412-692-5460.

Tests for Children's Congenital Ear Problems

Our team uses a range of tests so we can find and treat problems early.

In most cases, we can do all tests in one visit and will share same-day results when we can.

Hearing test

Our audiologists test your child's s ability to hear a range of pitches and volumes.

For older babies, we record responses, such as turning toward a sound. For toddlers, we play games that urge them to identify sounds.

For newborns and younger babies, we use an automated brainstem response (ABR) test.

For the test, the audiologist places small electrodes on your child's head. They measure your child's hearing nerve responses to sounds.

The ABR test lasts about an hour and is safe and painless.

Diagnostic and genetic tests

Ear abnormalities may be part of a larger health issue, which is why we offer same-day genetic testing. Diagnosing a gene disorder early means faster, better treatment for your child.

We also provide kidney ultrasounds, echocardiograms, and other tests.

We do this because we sometimes find heart and kidney problems in kids with ear abnormalities.

Treatments for Children's Congenital Ear Defects

We offer a wide range of medical and non-medical treatments, using a one-stop and child-centered approach.

By giving your child the chance to see many doctors at once, we reduce delays and save you time.

Ear reconstruction and ear canal reconstruction

These surgeries are for children with very small ears (microtia) or missing ears (atresia). It gives them natural-looking ears that usually last a lifetime.

Our surgeon will explain the options for reconstruction and help you choose the best one for your child.

These include using cartilage we take from the rib cage or using a synthetic implant covered with your child's own skin.

Our skilled surgeons will also advise you on the best time to pursue the surgery.

Plastic surgery for ears

Plastic surgery can restore confidence for children with ear deformities, such as prominent ears and lop ears.

Our surgeons are experts in a range of safe and effective plastic surgery techniques for children.

The team at the CEC will explain the surgery process in detail and offer advice on when to pursue surgery.

Bone-anchored hearing aids

This device sends vibrations to the inner ear, allowing children to hear even without an ear canal.

We offer bone-anchored hearing aids on a headband for babies and young children. For older kids, we can implant them surgically.

These devices help children build their hearing and speech skills until they're old enough for ear canal surgery.

Speech therapy

Speech is vital for children. It helps them learn, gain social skills, and express themselves.

Our speech therapists cater their care to the age and developmental stage of each child.