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news News Monday, May 21, 2018 Monday, May 21, 2018 1:23 PM - Monday, May 21, 2018 1:23 PM

Audiologists and ENT surgeons are important part of cleft palate care

Audiologists and ENT surgeons are important part of cleft palate care

Children who have cleft lip and palate are at higher risk for chronic ear infections because they may have higher than normal fluid levels in their ears. Ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago carefully monitor middle ear health on babies who have a cleft lip and palate as part of their overall care plan at the hospital.

The team evaluated baby Evan during his first cleft palate appointment at the Chicago Shriners Hospital in December 2017. Evan did not pass one of the five tones in each ear. During his second appointment, Evan was evaluated by otolaryngologist and ENT Surgeon Kathryn L. Colman, M.D. for further treatment.

Sara Bachinski, AuD, an audiologist at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago performed thorough tests of Evan’s hearing using the audiology lab available in the same department. Bachinski says children undergo a typanometry screening. Evan also received audiology testing with a simple device inserted in his ears that screens his hearing at different frequencies. The hospital’s AuDx system performs otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening which sends tones and measures the response inside Evan’s inner ears. The testing procedures are painless for children. Evan’s dad Michael held him during the testing.

Based on the results from screening and evaluations by an ENT, doctors determined Evan needed ear tubes to help equalize his ear pressure. At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago, an ENT surgeon inserts the ear tubes while a baby is undergoing surgery for their initial lip repair. This helps to reduce the number of overall surgeries and the inconvenience for families. “Coordinating care between specialists is really important for minimizing the number of anesthesias that patients receive. Our ENTs and plastic surgeons work together to make that happen,” Mary M. O'Gara, MA, CCC-SLP, director of cleft lip and palate and plastic surgery services at the Chicago Shriners Hospital, said.

Evan received his ear tubes during his first lip repair surgery in April 2018 from ENT Surgeon Arthur Curtis, M.D.

For more information on our cleft lip and palate care for children, visit our Cleft Lip and Palate page.

Evan with Kathryn Colman