Texas Children's Hospital and The Center for Hearing and Speech Announce Partnership to Provide Collaborative Pediatric Care

HOUSTON - (Oct. 15, 2009) - Texas Children's Hospital and The Center for Hearing and Speech (CHS) have announced a partnership that will enhance healthcare for children with hearing impairments. As part of this formal partnership, Texas Children's pediatric cochlear implant surgery recipients will benefit from both organizations' combined resources to receive the best possible coordinated and comprehensive care.

"We are excited to form this tremendous partnership with The Center for Hearing and Speech that will benefit pediatric healthcare throughout Houston and beyond," said Dr. John Oghalai, Clinic Chief of The Hearing Center at Texas Children's Hospital. "Every year our team has been performing an increasing number of cochlear implants and these patients require close, integrated management and therapy for many years afterwards. This partnership with CHS will expand our program in a way that will enhance our ability to provide our patients the best speech and language outcomes."

A multidisciplinary team of physicians and experts from Texas Children's and CHS will work together to assess children as young as 12 months with profound hearing loss to determine cochlear implant candidacy. The team, including experts in neurotology, audiology, speech pathology, genetics, neuropsychology, developmental neurology and family services, will help guide children and their families through evaluations to the surgical implantation at Texas Children's and the subsequent, critical treatment.

According to Oghalai, approximately 1 in 1,000 children are born with hearing loss severe enough to warrant a cochlear implant, one of the most innovative treatment options available for children with hearing disorders. Although the implant does not restore hearing, it provides the ability to perceive sounds, allowing a child to hear and understand more speech than possible with only a hearing aid.

Dr. Jennifer Wickesberg, director of audiology at CHS, acknowledges that cochlear implant surgery is only the first step in a child's journey to listening, speaking, and learning. "Many of our implanted students had their surgery at Texas Children's Hospital so a formal partnership allows us to collaborate on education and therapy, expediting the treatments these children need on a daily basis." As the number of pediatric cochlear implant surgeries increase, so does the need for vital, follow-up speech therapy, audiological management and education.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.