Our Program

Professionals at the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication in Los Angeles offer comprehensive assessments to determine the type and degree of hearing loss a child of any age may have, fit sensory devices including hearing aids and cochlear implants and assess and facilitate the development of communication skills. Comprehensive services offered by clinical staff members include pediatric audiology, speech-language pathology and auditory verbal therapy, and educational counseling and guidance. Faculty members include scientists engaged in studies focusing on auditory development and disorders in children.

Come Read with Me at USC is an intensive summer intervention and research project designed to strengthen early literacy skills in school-aged children who are deaf and hard of hearing from homes in which at least one parent speaks Spanish. The program provides support for parents and teachers, as well as the children enrolled in the program
The Caruso Family Center’s licensed audiologists come from a variety of outstanding doctoral programs, hold certifications in clinical excellence and are devoted to the hearing health of children. State-of-the art, research-based procedures support program assessment techniques, hearing aid fitting and cochlear implant programming techniques. The center’s certified and licensed speech-language pathologists conduct comprehensive speech, language and literacy evaluations, monitor speech and language progress, consult with local service providers and offer individual speech and language therapy for children listening with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. The center is one of the few clinical programs employing a full time educational specialist nationwide.

Children with hearing loss using cochlear implants and/or hearing aids may be eligible for participation in one or more of the center’s research programs. These include innovative approaches to studying the functions and development of the inner ear, longitudinal studies following the developmental abilities of children with hearing loss and literacy intervention for young children with hearing loss. The Los Angeles Pediatric ABI Project is composed of scientists and clinicians from Keck Medicine of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Huntington Medical Research Institutes. The USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication is one of three centers in the United States conducting a U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical trial with auditory brainstem implants in children and is the only center with a National Institutes of Health grant that covers many study-related expenses of participating families.

Our Approach

The USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication, affiliated with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, opened in October 2013 and is staffed by clinicians who have an exceptional level of expertise. Through our comprehensive services and extensive rehabilitative and follow-up care, we give children not only the ability to hear, but also the tools and support to optimize their communication and academic skills.


Hearing loss in children

Hearing loss may be present at birth or may develop at any point in a child’s life. It may be temporary or permanent. Hearing loss may be present in one or both ears and may range from mild to profound.

Some possible signs of hearing loss:

  • A newborn baby does not startle to a loud noise
  • An infant does not react to speech or environmental sounds
  • Delays in the understanding of spoken language
  • A toddler is not using single words by about 15 months, or two word sentences by age 2
  • A young child’s speech is unusually difficult to understand

Treatments and Services


The USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication professionals are expert in diagnostic hearing assessment of babies and young children. Comprehensive hearing evaluations for children of all ages, hearing aid fitting and follow-up and implant services are provided. Clinical audiologists offer age-appropriate, state-of-the-art assessments including auditory brain stem response testing, otoacoustic emissions testing and behavioral audiologic evaluation. Follow up appointments are routinely scheduled to ensure amplification and implant programming remain appropriate over time.
Clinical and research speech-language pathologists have extensive knowledge and training in working with children who use hearing aids and/or cochlear implants for the development of communicative competence. They provide diagnostic evaluations of speech and language development, conduct evaluations to assist in the determination of cochlear implant candidacy and provide communication therapy to meet a child’s specific needs.
Educational programming is fundamental to a child’s listening, language and academic success. Parent understanding and participation in interventions and in the development of individual educational programs is essential to a child’s developing listening and language skills.

Educational counseling is provided to families providing current information regarding community school programs, school interventions, therapies and educational interventions that support the development of communication and academic skills. Families acquire critical information about the IFSP and the IEP process during individual educational counseling sessions. Staff development and school in-services are provided by the educational specialist upon request. Auditory verbal therapy is also provided by the educational specialist. The educational specialist offers 35 years of experience working with deaf and hard of hearing children of all ages.

“Come Read with Me at USC,” an innovative Caruso Family Center clinical and research based program offered annually each summer is designed to meet the needs of children with hearing loss during the period of emergent literacy. The program includes three components: teacher education, parent learning and direct instructional opportunities for young children developing phonological awareness and concepts of print. This program supports the development of foundational literacy skills necessary for academic success.


Early intervention is critical to the development of successful communication outcomes. Our center is a participant with the California Newborn Hearing Screening Program, whose mission is identification of hearing loss and provision of appropriate services within the first few months of a baby’s life. The center provides the full spectrum of hearing care for children, working directly with our Keck Medicine of USC otolaryngologists, who form one of the world’s most specialized teams in cochlear implantation and hearing restoration surgery.

Hearing aids from the leading manufacturers are fit and dispensed with a focus on the critical listening needs of children. Hearing aid fittings are based on audiologic evaluation, real ear measures and behavioral assessments, using prescriptive methodologies that have been widely researched and validated in young children. The center maintains a stock of loaner hearing aids so amplification can be provided immediately upon identification of hearing loss and during repairs of a child’s own device.
For those who are unable to benefit sufficiently from hearing aids, cochlear implants may be an option. A surgically implanted electrode array bypasses damaged portions of the inner ear and provides electrical signals directly to the hearing nerve. These signals are transmitted to the brain, which interprets them as sound. The Caruso Family Center uses a multidisciplinary team approach to determining cochlear implant candidacy, guiding children and families through the process of hearing habilitation and leading to best possible outcomes with the device. The Caruso Family Center offers the cochlear implant devices of all three manufacturers.
The center offers both soft band and surgical bone conduction devices, which send sound waves directly to the cochlea through vibration of the bones of the head. Bone conduction devices may be suitable for some people with hearing loss who cannot benefit from conventional hearing aids but who have normal cochlear function in at least one ear.

Patient Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where is the USC Caruso Family Center for Childhood Communication?
We are located at 806 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Q. Where can I park?
Complimentary parking is available for guests in a lot adjacent to the center. Please press the intercom button and our staff will open the gate for you.

Q. When are you open?
We are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).

Q. Should I bring anything to my child’s appointment?
If possible, please provide copies of any pertinent test results, medical reports and audiological and speech/language evaluations, insurance card, identification and the pre-arrival packet that we will send you. The representative who schedules your appointment will let you know if anything more is required.

Our Physicians

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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 4

Specializing In



Chelsea Cole, AuD
 Janice Loggins, MA, CCC-A
Rebecca Lewis, AuD
Kali Markle, AuD
Kristina Rousso, AuD
Margaret Winter, MS, CCC-A

Speech Language Pathologists

Lori Velji Wagner, MS, CCC-SLP
Dianne Hammes Ganguly, MA, CCC-SLP

Education Specialist

Debra Schrader, LSLS Cert-AVT