UCSF Children's Communication Center Annual Report: Takeaways from 2022 and Goals for 2023

February 27, 2023

The Children's Communication Center (CCC) at the University of California – San Francisco (UCSF) released its first formal Annual Report at the end of 2022 to highlight and celebrate the incredible work happening there. At the CCC, children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (D/HH) are seen for comprehensive hearing health services by dedicated pediatric providers in Pediatric Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Social Work at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals – San Francisco and Oakland.

The report discusses the work of the CCC in areas including multidisciplinary clinical care, educational outreach and clinical and translational research.

"I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our pediatric D/HH team this past year in terms of clinical work, research and outreach," says Dylan Chan, MD, PhD, director of the CCC and associate professor at the UCSF Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck (UCSF OHNS). "I am optimistic that 2023 will bring even more growth, productivity and connection. We certainly have a lot of exciting plans in store."

Here are a few highlights from the Annual Report, which was largely compiled by CCC Program Coordinator Jenny Stephans.

Between November 1st, 2021, and October 31st, 2022:

  • 1,760 unique children were seen for diagnoses of permanent hearing loss or aural atresia
  • 1,280 children were seen for hearing device management
  • 180 children underwent surgery for hearing-related conditions, including cochlear implantation, bone-conduction hearing device placement, ear canal reconstruction and chronic ear disease

The CCC provides care for D/HH children across the entirety of Northern California and is representative of the diversity across Northern California, including:

  • 60% from underrepresented minority (URM) groups
  • 38% from non-English-speaking homes
  • 70% from low-income homes 

The CCC was also active in conducting and presenting basic-science, translational, and clinical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), including an actively-enrolling clinical trial on speech-language teletherapy in deaf or hard-of-hearing children . In 2022, members of the team gave 17 presentations, and 11 studies were published in peer-reviewed journals. Over 30 individuals were involved in this work, including undergraduate students, medical students, clinical providers, colleagues at UCSF and scientific collaborators from elsewhere in the United States and around the world.

In 2022, the CCC also contributed to the launch of Silence On/Off, a podcast produced by Katrin Jaradeh, a UCSF medical student, and Naveen Yaramala, a cochlear implant recipient. In the series, Katrin and Naveen interview individuals engaged with hearing and deafness, including clinical and educational providers and individuals who are D/HH, to talk about their experiences with hearing and deafness. The CCC also continued support of the ListenUp! program empowering families to educate their communities about how to support their children's hearing and communication needs, and delivered lessons on hearing and noise to over 1000 4th graders in San Francisco Unified School District.

Looking ahead, the CCC has a number of specific new initiatives that they are targeting for 2023, including:

  • Improved family and patient care navigation to support families of children who are D/HH
  • Expanded research into the best method of preschool hearing screening
  • Expanded research into disparities in hearing-loss genetics
  • Continued community partnerships with local schools and organizations
  • Increased in-person bonding opportunities, including a resource fair

To learn more, visit the CCC website.