Comprehensive, collaborative hearing care
Hearing loss can impact every area of a child’s life. The compassionate team at our ECHO program offers comprehensive services for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and we're the only program in Illinois to offer these services in a single, dedicated location. Our ear, nose and throat specialists, audiologists, speech language pathologists, early intervention therapists and teachers of the deaf form a close-knit team that collaborates with each other and with you to provide the best diagnosis, treatment and ongoing hearing support for your child.
When you choose ECHO, you're choosing a program that’s played a fundamental role in the field of pediatric hearing care. The ECHO Program supports informed parent choice. To accomplish this, we partner with families by sharing information about available technology, communication and educational options, as well as how those options might look for the family, both now, and in the future. As families make decisions about how to proceed, ECHO staff position ourselves to provide support and guidance along the family’s chosen path through school services, audiological support, and/ or outreach services, depending upon the family’s needs.
Michael Novak, MD, was the first surgeon in Illinois to perform pediatric cochlear implant surgery. When he founded ECHO in 1987, the program was involved in the initial FDA trials that demonstrated the safety and benefits of cochlear implantation in children. Since then, staff from the two branches of ECHO – the Pediatric Hearing Center and Carle Auditory Oral School – have worked with children and their families to improve communication and quality of life for more than 30 years.
Our Pediatric Hearing Center staff works with families to diagnose hearing loss in children. With more than 30 years’ experience and state-of-the-art technology, our audiologists and ear, nose and throat specialists help families understand how hearing loss affects a child's development and recommends available treatment options.The impact of hearing loss on a child's development depends on the severity and type of loss. Our experts educate families about the impact of hearing loss on speech, language and listening skills. Depending on the type and extent of hearing loss, we will recommend the most appropriate treatment option:
ECHO staff brings many years of experience to cochlear implant candidates and their families.
The cochlear implant team partners with the family to determine if the cochlear implant is the best treatment, and continues to work with the family to maximize speech language and auditory outcomes.
Because a cochlear implant uses an entirely different signal than normal hearing or hearing aids, parents must be committed to teaching their child to listen with this device.
How cochlear implants work
A cochlear implant consists of two components: the internal receiver/stimulator and the external speech processor. The receiver/stimulator is implanted under the skin behind the ear, with an electrode array surgically inserted into the cochlea. The speech processor, worn over the ear, is a small microcomputer that receives sound from a microphone and transmits the signal to the receiver/stimulator. The auditory nerve in the cochlea receives the signal and sends it to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
The evaluation consists of:
The cochlear implant team includes Ryan Porter, MD, and Jonathan McJunkin, MD, audiologists, speech language pathologists, developmental specialists and educators to support your child. Founder Michael Novak, MD continues to serve in as emeritus director.
Cochlear implants generally work best for infants and children with:
The outpatient cochlear implant procedure typically takes one to two hours. Our surgeon discusses pre-operative procedures and risks with your family prior to surgery.
Language and speech patterns develop over time based on what a child hears. When children are deaf and hard of hearing, it can be difficult for them to learn the patterns and rules of spoken language. Hearing aids and cochlear implants can make it possible for children to hear the sounds of speech, allowing them to develop speech and spoken language.ECHO speech language pathologists offer:
Early intervention enhances development and maximizes potential for children with hearing loss. Our program offers hands-on learning options for children ages 0–3 and their parents to get a jump start on speech, language and listening skills.Learn more about early intervention options through the Birth to Three Program at Carle Auditory Oral School.
We offer direct intervention, consultation, and trainings for students in public or private schools, their families, and the school professionals who work with them. Services can be provided in person or via tele-conferencing. Educational assessments and support for individualized education plans (IEP) are also provided. Weekly therapy and language based academic support are available. For additional information please contact ECHOoutreach@carle.com.
Your appointment will take place in our ECHO facility:
Expanding Children’s Hearing Opportunities (ECHO)
805 W. Park St.
Urbana, IL 61801
With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.