Pediatric ENT

Ears

Many children experience ear pain at some point in their lives. This can be due to a cold or sinus infection, but sometimes ear pain is caused by something more serious like chronic ear infections or ruptured ear drums. It is important for parents to understand that an earache may not always be as simple as it seems and can be a sign of a larger problem. If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT.

Ear Infection

A common problem for children is ear pain due to an ear infection. A virus, bacteria, or yeast can cause ear infections. Most ear infections are viral, but bacterial, and yeast infections may also cause pain. Children usually experience fever, redness in the ears, and hearing loss as symptoms of an ear infection.

Treatments typically include antibiotics, antifungals, topical medications, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen. If your child has these symptoms, they need to see a pediatric ENT specialist who can help them manage their discomfort and get on the road to recovery.

Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .
Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .

Ear Tubes

Ear tubes, also known as tympanostomy tubes or PE tubes, are a treatment for chronic ear pain. There are two types of ear tubes-tympanostomy and ventilating. The difference is that tympanostomy tubes create an airtight seal that allows fluid to drain out of the middle ear. Ventilating ear tubes do not create an airtight seal and work by allowing air to pass into the middle ear; this helps equalize pressure in the ears.

Kids can be most commonly treated with tympanostomy tubes. A pediatric ENT will first diagnose the cause of your child’s ear pain. If it’s due to fluid buildup, your doctor may place ear tubes.

If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT immediately.

A pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of children’s ears, noses, and throats. Earaches are a common problem that Pediatric ENTs treat on a daily basis. If your child experiences severe pain in their ear, it is important to bring them to see an expert as soon as possible because they may be suffering from something other than an ear infection.

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear, also called otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal. It is caused by water that stays in the ear after swimming or bathing. Swimmers can be more prone to the condition because of the constant flow of wetness and bacteria into the canal. Symptoms often include itching, pain, and redness in the ear.

Fortunately, there are treatments for swimmer’s ears. With proper treatment, most people with swimmer’s ear can get relief from their symptoms.

Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .
Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .

Typical treatments include:

If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT immediately.
A pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of children’s ears, noses, and throats. Earaches are a common problem that Pediatric ENTs treat on a daily basis. If your child experiences severe pain in their ear, it is important to bring them to see an expert as soon as possible because they may be suffering from something other than an ear infection.

Audiological Diagnostic Testing

Audiological diagnostic testing can help identify the potential cause of your child’s ear pain and, in some cases, even pinpoint the problem. The audiologist will first use an otoscope device to look into your child’s ears. The otoscope is a small tube with a light at one end that illuminates the ear canal and lets the doctor see how deep it goes. Testing is done in the office for those six months and older.

Test results include hearing loss, fluid buildup behind the eardrum, or middle-ear infection (otitis media). If a serious problem is found, treatment may be prescribed or surgery performed. With appropriate treatment, children usually recover quickly and without any lasting effects.

Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .
If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT immediately.
A pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of children’s ears, noses, and throats. Earaches are a common problem that Pediatric ENTs treat on a daily basis. If your child experiences severe pain in their ear, it is important to bring them to see an expert as soon as possible because they may be suffering from something other than an ear infection.

Congenital Childhood Hearing Loss

Congenital Childhood Hearing Loss is a term that refers to hearing loss that is present at birth. The most common causes of congenital hearing loss are genetic (inherited) and include syndromes such as Usher syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, and Down Syndrome. Cochlear implants can be surgically implanted to provide an effective means for some children with moderate or severe to profound hearing loss. They can be programmed to fit the needs of each individual child.

They function by converting sound waves into electrical impulses, which are transmitted to the brain via electrodes placed near the round window in the ear canal.

Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .

Diagnostic Testing

Pediatric ENTs utilize diagnostic testing to determine the cause of your child’s ear pain. An otoscope, or lighted scope, is used for this purpose. If the ears appear healthy, then a tympanogram may be done to determine if there are middle-ear problems like fluid and infection. Other diagnostic tests include an audiogram, hearing screening, and X-rays of the head and neck area to check for conditions like impacted ear wax or enlarged adenoids.

Your pediatric ENT may perform diagnostic testing if they experience chronic ear infections. This may indicate a narrowing of their Eustachian tubes, which can be treated with tube dilation or other procedures. Further x-rays may reveal enlarged adenoids that could be removed to improve breathing and relieve pressure on your child’s Eustachian tubes.

If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT immediately.

A pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of children’s ears, noses, and throats. Earaches are a common problem that Pediatric ENTs treat on a daily basis. If your child experiences severe pain in their ear, it is important to bring them to see an expert as soon as possible because they may be suffering from something other than an ear infection.

Ear Deformities

Ear deformities can occur due to many reasons. These include the shape of the ear canal, an infection in the middle ear, allergies, and ear infections. A pediatric ENT specialist can diagnose and treat these problems accordingly.

With ear deformities, it’s best to monitor them closely while working with a plastic surgery team to get the best care. Treatments can include bone-anchored hearing aids. If your child is experiencing pain due to ear deformities, make sure to see your pediatric ENT specialist for a checkup and an accurate diagnosis.

Many children experience ear pain through out their life which can be something simple, or a sign of a serious issue that should be addressed with an ear specialist .

If you suspect your child’s earache might be due to something other than the common cold, contact your Pediatric ENT immediately.

A pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of children’s ears, noses, and throats. Earaches are a common problem that Pediatric ENTs treat on a daily basis. If your child experiences severe pain in their ear, it is important to bring them to see an expert as soon as possible because they may be suffering from something other than an ear infection.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions? We are here to help.

What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist is a licensed hearing professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. They have completed a Masters or Doctorate in the field of Audiology, as well as internships in their field of expertise.
How do I know if I need hearing aids?
Many people with hearing loss first notice they are asking their friends and family to repeat more frequently, or they feel everyone around them is mumbling. Getting your hearing evaluated is the first step to treatment. Your audiologist will test your hearing to help determine if you have hearing loss and if you can benefit from amplification.
How long will my hearing aid last?
The life of a hearing aid is about five to seven years. It is important to have regular appointments to ensure your hearing aid is functioning and programmed properly. Hearing aids also come with different warranties, typically two to three years, covering repair and loss replacement. Many hearing aids are still functioning well after seven years, while others may need re-programming, repair, or replacement.
How much does a hearing aid cost?
A hearing aid purchased from our practice can range anywhere from $1,200 to $7,000, depending on the level of technology you require. It is important to have a trained hearing professional assess your individual needs to ensure you receive the right level of technology for you personally. Hearing Aids are not ‘one size fits all’. This is why we recommend a Hearing Aid Evaluation with one of our Doctors of Audiology, so they can guide you towards what options would work best for you.
Does health insurance cover hearing aids?
Coverage for hearing aids varies based on insurance companies and plans. Understanding coverage, and how our practice’s participation or non-participation with your insurance will impact the cost to you, can be complex. We encourage you to speak with our dedicated audiology receptionist at 401-626-3748 for more information regarding your particular plan, and what your benefits may be. We also encourage you to reach out to your plan directly prior to visiting our office.
Why should I purchase my hearing aid from Univoto versus a big chain store at a discount? Why should I see an audiologist before getting an ‘OTC’ hearing aid?

An audiologist is a licensed, certified professional who specializes in helping patients with hearing loss. While OTC devices do not require a diagnostic hearing test, they do rely on the consumer to determine if they have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Many people are not able to accurately determine their degree of hearing loss. A diagnostic hearing test completed with an audiologist will provide accurate information on both the degree and type of hearing loss.

 

An audiologist can then help you determine if OTC or prescription hearing aids are right for your communication needs, or if you need a consultation with an otologist (ear physician). The hearing test can also be useful to self-fit an OTC device or to precisely program a prescription device. There is an overwhelming amount of information available on hearing technologies, and your audiologist can provide clarity and direction to ease you through the process to improved communication.

 

If you do decide to purchase your hearing aid with us, we offer servicing of the device and maintenance that would not be included in the purchase of an OTC device, as well as a warranty for repairs and device malfunction, which many patients find of value when making such a large purchase. Please reach out to our dedicated audiology receptionist at 401-626-3748 for more information.

Why was I not told there would be a cost for diagnostic testing?
We certainly appreciate how confusing insurance benefits can be for the average patient to make heads or tails of. Understanding your benefits can be a daunting and frustrating task! The challenge that we deal with as providers is that there are hundreds of insurance plans out there and each plan is unique to that person’s arrangement with the payer plan. Unfortunately, it would take an army to be able to check each individual patient’s benefits prior to providing care, and so we ask that patients be proactive about understanding their benefits prior to visiting our office. If you have a copay, deductible or coinsurance, please be aware that in most cases, diagnostic testing will be applied as an out of pocket cost to you directly. If you have questions about your benefits, or about how services were applied to your responsibility, please check with your plan directly, and/or your HR representative.
Do you participate with my insurance?

Univoto participates with the following plans: Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of RI, Cigna, Medicare, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Tricare, Tufts Health Plan, United Health Plan, Harvard, Coventry (First Health), Humana Senior Plans.

 

Please note that Tufts Health Plan and Harvard become Point32Health, and merge, as of January 2024.

 

Also, keep in mind that there are some plans that look like a Cigna plan that actually go through a third-party benefit administrator such as ‘MultiPlan’. We are not in network with those plans. We recommend verifying with your insurance company directly that we are in network. Provide them our Tax ID 05-0319479, and the practice name ‘University Otolaryngology’, and they should be able to verify our participation.

Are hearing tests covered by insurance?
Yes, the majority of health insurances cover hearing testing. CPT billing codes we use when billing for diagnostic testing are 92557 (comprehensive audiogram), 92567 (tympanometry). Other codes may also be billed depending on the specific diagnostic needs of each patient.
Why is there a copay for a hearing test?
Many patients get confused when they receive a bill for a copay for a hearing test, as their insurance company tells them that they get one free ‘routine’ hearing test per year. The key there is the term ‘routine’. A ‘routine’ hearing test is essentially a screening hearing test to determine your baseline of hearing. This would have been performed at a primary care physician’s office, or by a screening service (an example of this would be hearing screenings that are done by a pediatric center such as a school). Univoto are a team of specialists that treat hearing disorders. If you see one of our providers, it is because you currently have, or have had a history of hearing loss or another ear disorder, and therefore our hearing tests are not ‘routine’, but rather ‘diagnostic’ in nature. Some payers, such as BlueCross BlueShield, do assign a copay to diagnostic hearing tests. We recommend that you reach out to your insurance plan and ask if you have a responsibility towards ‘diagnostic’ hearing tests, prior to your visit, if you are concerned about that potential cost.
How much will OTC hearing aids cost?
It is thought that OTC hearing aids will cost average $1,000 per pair. Any mention of OTC hearing aid costs are a best guess and will be determined by the manufacturers.
How will I know if OTC hearing aids will work for me?

The best way to know if OTC hearing aids will work for you is to see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation. This evaluation will show you the degree of hearing loss and the part of the ear—outer, middle, or

 

inner—that is causing your hearing loss. This information, taken together, will help you decide whether an OTC hearing aid is your best choice or if your needs would be better addressed by a prescription hearing aid.

Who can wear OTC hearing aids?

OTC hearing aids will work if you have a mild to moderate hearing loss. They are not effective for a moderate to severe degree of hearing loss. You must be 18 years or older to wear OTC hearing aids. Children should never wear them.

 

You must consult a medical provider before buying an OTC hearing aid if you have any of the following medical conditions:

 

  • ear deformity
  • fluid, pus, or blood coming from the ear
  • hearing loss or ringing (tinnitus) that occurs in only one ear or that is noticeably different in one ear
  • pain or discomfort in the ear
  • history of excessive earwax or feeling that something is in the ear
  • pain or discomfort in the ear
  • sudden, quickly worsening, or fluctuating hearing loss
  • vertigo or severe dizziness
Who can help me pick an OTC hearing aid?

Many places may sell OTC hearing aids: your local pharmacy, big-box stores such as Walmart, or online providers. You will make the decision about what you buy, just like any other item on the shelf. You may be able to ask store staff for help; however, these staff members likely do not have specialized training in hearing loss and hearing technology programming. It is important to read all information on the box before buying a device. You may not be able to return the hearing aids once you buy them.

 

Audiologists have extensive training in ear, hearing, and balance disorders and have either a doctoral or master’s degree. They can explain your hearing loss and help you consider the hearing aid that is best for you. Some audiologists will help you with basic maintenance of your OTC hearing aid for a service fee.

Why should I see an audiologist even if I choose an OTC hearing aid?

An audiologist is the expert in hearing health care—–they can help you find a device and supply tips for you and your individual hearing needs. They will also be able to check your hearing over time to see if it remains stable or worsens. Regular check-ins are important: they reveal whether your chosen hearing aid (OTC or prescription) is

 

providing enough sound to meet your hearing needs—– or whether you and your audiologist should discuss other options. The common goal between you as the patient and the audiologist as the provider is to help you create a plan and a path toward improved hearing.

How do I find an audiologist in my area?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has a national directory that can help you find an audiologist in your area. Visit https://www.asha.org/profind/ or email ASHA Audiology Practices at audiology@asha.org

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