Conditions We Treat at the Hearing Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Hearing loss and dizziness can affect a child's growth, self-esteem, and happiness.

Our passionate care team at the Hearing Center:

  • Aims to improve your child's hearing to the fullest extent possible.
  • Uses the latest techniques to diagnose and treat all types of hearing loss.
  • Enhances both the volume and clearness of sounds your child hears.
  • Tracks your child's progress over time until we're sure we've thoroughly resolved their condition.

Contact the Hearing Center to Make an Appointment

To make an appointment for your child, call 412-692-5460 and ask to speak to the Hearing Center Coordinator.

Common conditions we treat include:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Conductive hearing loss.
  • Mixed hearing loss.
  • Dizziness (vertigo).

Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)

The cochlea is a snail-shaped, fluid-filled structure in the inner ear. It has small hair cells (nerve endings) that respond to sound wave vibrations and send signals to the brain.

Damage to either the inner ear or the nerve endings causes SNHL.

SNHL can range from mild to severe and requires advanced treatment.

The Hearing Center at UPMC Children's Hospital treats SNHL with either:

  • Hearing aids, which heighten sounds.
  • Cochlear implants, which stimulate the main hearing nerve.

These technologies are always improving and we closely watch out for the latest.

SNHL causes and risks

Children may be born with this type of hearing loss.

It may present on its own or be tied to another diagnosis, such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome.

Premature birth and exposure to infections in the womb are also risk factors.

Children can also get hearing loss later in life, often from inner ear damage caused by:

  • Injuries
  • Infections
  • Diseases

Hearing loss may come on all at once or slowly over time.

Conductive Hearing Loss

This type of hearing loss stems from issues in the outer and middle ear, rather than the inner ear. Causes include fluid buildup or structural issues like a perforated eardrum.

Unlike SNHL, conductive hearing loss is usually not permanent.

Treatments depend on the cause and can include:

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Hearing aids

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss includes both SNHL and conductive hearing loss.

We start by treating the conductive hearing loss and then use hearing aids for the inner ear hearing loss.

Dizziness (Vertigo)

Children may feel dizzy from motion, not drinking enough, low oxygen, or standing up very quickly.

But when children often say they feel like the room is spinning, the dizziness could be vertigo.

For kids who can't describe the feeling, parents may notice physical symptoms, such as:

  • Strange eye movements.
  • Confusion.
  • Poor motor skills.
  • Clumsiness.
  • Dizziness is often an inner ear problem. Tiny nerves in the ear sense the direction of fluid in the inner ear and send that signal to the brain.

Causes of dizziness can include:

  • Fluid buildup.
  • A small bone or calcium stones in the inner ear fluid.
  • Many other conditions.

At the Hearing Center, we often diagnose — and resolve — unexplained dizziness in children.