Brown Center for Audiology, Development & Learning
Former Ft. Bliss Commander Heidi Brown, made a $250,000 gift to the El Paso Children’s Hospital Fund to name the Center for Pediatric Audiology Development and Learning in honor of her parents William G. and Virginia Maxwell Brown. Now, Major General Brown, she was recently named the director of global operations for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Although the Browns had lived all over the world, they counted El Paso as their home. Several Brown Family siblings had dealt with hearing issues, so it seemed natural to dedicate their gift to filling this important yet underserved developmental area by establishing a dedicated center.
The only center of its kind in El Paso, the William G. and Virginia Maxwell Brown Center for Pediatric Audiology Development and Learning:
- Focuses on follow-up care for children with hearing loss,
- Provides a developmental home for the children for whom timely follow-up care may make the difference in success in life,
- Helps enhance training and preparation of pediatric residents to increase their awareness of childhood hearing loss and its related disorders so it is incorporated into their professional practice.
Of every 1,000 infants in Texas, an estimated three are born with significant hearing loss and many more are born with milder hearing loss, 97% of those are born into hearing families. By age 18, approximately 17 in 1,000 children have a hearing problem that would likely benefit from early identification and intervention. Reports show that the rate of hearing loss in El Paso is double the state and national average.
Mandated newborn hearing screenings identify children with hearing loss, but in El Paso, it is estimated that as many as 75% of those identified are not receiving developmental follow-up intervention. This results in a loss of critical months crucial to the normal cognitive skill development of speech and language – months that are gone forever.
Any degree of hearing loss can be educationally handicapping for children often resulting in difficulties later in life, including problems with listening and speaking skills, literacy skills, academic performance, and long-term job opportunities.
The William G. and Virginia Maxwell Brown Center for Pediatric Audiology Development and Learning is located directly across from the basement elevators of El Paso Children’s Hospital near the Bistro.