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Keck Medicine helps children with hearing loss

trinidadby Alison Trinidad
The USC Center for Childhood Communication provides audiology and speech language pathology services to children with hearing loss from birth to adulthood. (Photo/Department of Health and Human Services: Center for Disease Control)
The USC Center for Childhood Communication provides audiology and speech language pathology services to children with hearing loss from birth to adulthood. (Photo/Department of Health and Human Services: Center for Disease Control)

Children with hearing loss have a new place to find help.

Keck Medicine of USC has opened the USC Center for Childhood Communication on the campus of John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles. Pediatric audiology and speech pathology specialists began seeing patients on Oct. 1.

The center provides audiology and speech language pathology services to children with hearing loss from birth to adulthood, including access to national clinical trials and state-of-the-art rehabilitative care. It builds on the clinical and scientific expertise of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Keck Medicine.

“With the right care, young children with hearing loss can achieve developmental, academic and social outcomes commensurate with their hearing peers,” said John Niparko, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Our center fills a gap in the region, providing a comprehensive program that integrates research, clinical services and education to serve families with special needs.”

Fully staffed by university faculty, the USC center is able to test the degree and type of hearing loss a child may have; fit assistive devices such as hearing aids, bone conduction devices and cochlear implants; and assess listening and communication skill development. The center also participates in various National Institutes of Health-funded research projects that focus on hearing and speech development, in hopes of developing innovative technologies and procedures for people with profound hearing loss.

“Research and clinical innovation go hand in hand at the Keck School of Medicine,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School. “We are enthusiastic about the opening of this new center, an endeavor that could not have happened without the tireless work of the school’s chief operating officer, Coreen Rodgers.”

The USC Center for Childhood Communication is located at 806 W. Adams Blvd.

The USC Center for Childhood Communication is located at 806 W. Adams Blvd.

The clinic is the only institution in Southern California to provide comprehensive audiological, mental health and educational intervention for children with hearing loss from birth through age 5, plus support for their parents. Its integrated services include pediatric audiology, community hearing screening, parent-infant programming, an auditory-verbal preschool, counseling and child development, parent distance education, and an accredited master’s degree and credential program.

“We are pleased to have our two remarkable institutions under one roof,” said Gaston Kent, president and CEO of John Tracy Clinic. “Our proximity will be a tremendous asset to children with hearing loss, and we look forward to a long and collaborative relationship.”

The USC Center for Childhood Communication is the latest addition to the Department of Otolaryngology, which recently recruited four physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect hearing, balance, speech, swallowing, sleep and facial function. The department is home to preeminent surgeons who have experience in cochlear implantation, including advanced surgical techniques and multidisciplinary approaches to rehabilitation.

“Keck Medicine of USC is growing its network and expanding its reach to meet the needs of the community at large,” said Thomas Jackiewicz, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health. “We are pleased to have this group of hearing and speech specialists join the Trojan Family. Their expertise and experience in clinical care and research will be invaluable in building a first-class center for patients with hearing loss.”

To make an appointment with an audiologist or speech language pathologist, call 800-USC-CARE (800-872-2273).

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