Hearing Services for Children and Adults

The Department of Audiology at Women & Infants Hospital offers hearing services for children and adults of all ages. Our team works closely with the Newborn Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) medical providers to coordinate audiology services for newborns, particularly infants with multiple medical challenges. We work closely with Early Intervention and various school systems to provide quality services for toddlers and school-aged children. We have extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and management of hearing loss resulting from middle ear disease, noise exposure, aging, and many other causes.

Our audiologists are highly skilled in the use of assistive listening devices and hearing aids and can help design comprehensive management plans for children and adults with hearing loss.

The professional staff at the Audiology Department are certified audiologists, licensed in the state of Rhode Island and affiliated with the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 

Most major insurances and state and federal Medicare reimbursement programs are accepted.

Contact Information

Women & Infants Hospital Department of Audiology
134 Thurbers Avenue
Suite 215
Providence, RI 02905
P: (401) 453-7751
F: (401) 276-7813

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No Show Policy
We have a policy for missed appointments at all Women & Infants' physician practices. If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, please give us at least 24 hours notice.

Please be advised that this location is a provider-based clinic and both a physician and facility fee will be assessed, which may result in a higher out-of-pocket expense.

Our Hearing Services

Adult Hearing Services

Women & Infants provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and rehabilitative services for men and women of all ages.

Our certified, licensed audiologists provide complete audiology testing, including:

  • Comprehensive hearing evaluations
  • Middle ear assessment
  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)

Diagnosis, however, is only the first step in the hearing assessment process. Once hearing loss is confirmed, individuals are faced with many decisions regarding the rehabilitation process. Our facility is equipped to offer several amplification and rehabilitative options, including:

  • State-of-the-art hearing aids
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Ear protectors
  • Musician’s earplugs
  • Earmolds
  • Swim plugs
  • iPod plugs
Pediatric Hearing Services

Since 1993, Women & Infants has provided hearing screenings for more than 200,000 infants, with two to three children per 1,000 identified as having some degree of permanent hearing loss each year.

These children need specialized services through a Pediatric Audiology Program. In addition, other infants and young children require routine hearing assessments that are best performed by certified, licensed audiologists who are experienced in working with young patients.

In response to this need, Women & Infants began the Pediatric Audiology Program to provide diagnostic and habilitative audiology services to infants and children. Patients are referred from pediatricians, family practitioners, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists, parents, and other outside referral sources.

The Pediatric Audiology Program focuses on the special needs of children and their families. Our experienced, highly-trained professionals provide quality clinical care in a setting that is friendly and supportive.

Our certified, licensed audiologists provide complete audiology testing, including:

  • Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)
  • Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
  • Visual reinforcement audiometry
  • Behavioral audiometry
  • Play audiometry

Hearing assessment, however, is only the first step. Once hearing loss is confirmed, parents are faced with many decisions regarding the habilitation process. Our facility is equipped to offer several amplification and habilitative options, including:

  • State-of-the-art hearing aids
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Earmolds
  • Hearing protectors
  • Swim plugs
  • Parent support resources
Newborn Hearing Assessment

Hearing loss is the most commonly occurring disability in U.S. infants, with a rate of two to three per 1,000 infants. That translates into as many as 20,000 babies a year.

The consequences of late detection are significant and can result in lifelong communication, social, psychological, behavioral, and educational problems. Research has shown that babies who are identified with hearing loss and receive intervention services within six months of age outperform (at 40 months) those babies who were identified and received services after six months of age.

For more than 40 years, researchers and clinicians across the country have struggled to solve the dilemma of how to identify hearing loss in newborn babies in a quick and cost-effective manner. In 1993, Rhode Island legislation mandating universal newborn hearing screening took effect, and the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program (RIHAP) based at Women & Infants, became the first public health program of its kind in the United States. Since that time, RIHAP has screened 99 percent of Rhode Island’s newborn babies (14,000 annually) for hearing loss.

Quick, harmless, and non-invasive, the hearing screening is performed by a technician or nurse, and results are reviewed and interpreted by an audiologist. The results may indicate a need for an additional screen. Parents receive a phone call from the staff to come back for this screen at the hospital. The baby's doctor is notified of this by mail.

It is unlikely that a child has a serious hearing loss. However, if the results suggest an actual hearing loss, this program has designed a referral and follow-up program in order to assure the best and earliest possible intervention.

The results of the newborn hearing screen show how an infant hears at the time of the screen. Some infants with recurrent ear infections, serious infections, chronic illness, or a family history of hearing loss may develop hearing loss later in the first few years of life. If a parent has concerns about their child’s hearing ability or language development, the audiologist or family doctor should be contacted.

Types of Hearing Loss

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and can result from damage to the hair cells of the cochlea. It can be the result of:

  • Viral infections
  • Hereditary factors
  • Certain medications
  • Loud noises
  • Normal aging process
  • Other risk factors
Conductive Hearing Loss

Conductive hearing loss is usually fluctuating and is caused when the outer and/or middle ears are not functioning normally. The most common cause of conductive hearing loss is fluid behind the eardrum. Most conductive hearing loss can be corrected through medical treatment or surgery. 

Mixed Hearing Loss

Mixed hearing loss is when sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are both present.

Meet the Audiology Team

Andrew P. McGrath, Au.D.

Andrew P. McGrath, Au.D., is the clinical director of the Department of Audiology at Women & Infants Hospital. Dr. McGrath specializes in the evaluation and management of hearing loss in infants and young children, in particular working with at-risk children and their families.

Christen Kelly, Au.D.

Christen Kelly, Au.D., specializes in pediatric audiology testing and pediatric amplification, with a special interest in Deaf culture/ASL and cultural competence. Dr. Kelly is passionate about providing evidence-based care and improving cultural competence in the medical field.