FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oakland, CA (July 16, 2014) – With the advent of newborn hearing screening, audiologists can now identify congenital hearing loss within weeks of a child’s birth. But determining how well a device like a hearing aid or cochlear implant is working for a baby or a cognitively delayed child can be challenging. Now, UCSF Benioff Children’s Oakland’s Hearing & Speech Center is the first center on the West Coast to use a new technology that can measure and show a patient’s cortical response to sounds.
The new technology – the HEARLab® System – is a cortical auditory evoked potential analyzer (CAEP) that allows pediatric audiologists to determine if the amplification of a hearing device or a cochlear implant is providing optimal benefit to an infant, toddler, or cognitively delayed older child. The technology shows whether the amplification provided by a hearing device is strong enough to elicit an electrical response in the auditory cortex. This response data is used as an indication that child can perceive that sound. With this information, a pediatric audiologist is better able to customize and optimize a hearing device for the child. This can be accomplished with no actual words or feedback from the patient.
“Each child is unique, and this tool helps us fine tune a child’s hearing device and cochlear implant, so we can give each child their best hearing experience,” says Kelly Tremmel-Howell, lead audiologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. “It is important to understand what a child’s perception of normal speech sound is as early as possible because their speech understanding and language development depend on this.”
The purchase of this equipment was made by possible by a generous grant from the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation.
The HearLab CAEP testing provides clear evidence of when more intervention is necessary, such as hearing aid re-programming or referral for cochlear implant. Children’s audiologists can conduct a series of tests using speech sounds; see when the sound is detected by the auditory cortex; collect data on the evoked response with a hearing device and without aid; analyze the data, and offer a higher standard of care to pediatric patients who aren’t able to give feedback.
About UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (formerly Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland) is a premier, not-for-profit medical center for children in Northern California, and is the only hospital in the East Bay 100% devoted to pediatrics. UCSF Benioff Oakland affiliated with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco on January 1, 2014. UCSF Benioff Oakland is a national leader in many pediatric specialties including hematology/oncology, neonatology, cardiology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and neurosurgery. The hospital is one of only five ACS Pediatric Level I Trauma Centers in the state, and has one of largest pediatric intensive care units in Northern California. UCSF Benioff Oakland has 190 licensed beds, over 500 physicians in 43 specialties, more than 2,600 employees, and a consolidated annual operating budget of more than $500 million. UCSF Benioff Oakland is also a leading teaching hospital with an outstanding pediatric residency program and a number of unique pediatric subspecialty fellowship programs.
UCSF Benioff Oakland’s research arm, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), is internationally known for its basic and clinical research. CHORI is at the forefront of translating research into interventions for treating and preventing human diseases. CHORI has 250 members of its investigative staff, a budget of about $50 million, and is ranked among the nation’s top ten research centers for National Institutes of Health funding to children’s hospitals. For more information, go to www.childrenshospitaloakland.org and www.chori.org.
Contact: Melinda Krigel
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland