New pediatric audiology office treats children with special needs

 Clear Choice Hearing and Balance has recently opened its new pediatric audiology office suite, right next door to its preexisting Greece location at 103 Canal Landing Blvd. Among other patients, the office will treat children with special needs.

“Working with children with special needs requires a unique approach that’s truly needed in our community,” said Clear Choice Hearing and Balance Founder/Owner Christine Tirk, a Spencerport native who started her successful, full-scope audiology practice more than a decade ago. “I became very interested in providing the appropriate facilities and environment after hearing about the struggles faced by an employee of mine. He was frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to get his children tested for auditory processing disorder.”

Auditory processing disorder (APD) in children can cause speech and language delays, impede learning and disrupt interaction with others. It can often be a symptom in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, ADHD/ADD, and Down syndrome. In addition, the sensitivity to stimulation that often accompanies these diagnoses can make testing extremely difficult in a traditional, often-crowded clinical setting.

“We’re having success diagnosing children who have never even been able to get through the testing process previously,” Tirk said.

According to a company news release, the difference that Clear Choice Hearing and Balance offers starts from the moment clients enter the separate, welcoming waiting room with its eye-catching, Rochester-themed “I Spy”-type wall mural. Commissioned from well-known Rochester illustrator Chris Lyons, the colorful 20-feet-wide by 6-feet-high mural provides relatable and interactive amusement with its accompanying, rhyming clue sheets. The room also features other carefully chosen games, toys and activities for patients from ages 0 to 18. Waiting, however, is kept to a minimum by a support staff that understands the challenges that face families of children with special needs.

A specifically designed, wheelchair-accessible auditory booth has room for a child, a parent and an audiologist, while pediatric audiologist Kyrsten Stephany patiently works with families one-on-one to ensure a relaxed experience with a successful outcome.

“Our whole staff is proud of the unique and safe place we’ve created here,” says Tirk.