by The Welthi Bureau | 03 MAR 2018
Dr Janardhan Rao Jagini, consultant ENT Surgeon at KIMS Hospitals Secunderabad talks about the rhe importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss in children
Early identification of hearing loss would help a hearing impaired child to develop spoken language on par with other normal hearing children. Deaf children ( who have no hearing ) would be unable to develop spoken language without interventions. Children with hearing loss ( who can hear but not as well as others ) can have delayed language development. Those with untreated total or near total hearing loss would grow as deaf mute and communicate with sign language.
The importance of early diagnosis of hearing problem is evident from the following three true stories ( the names have been changed to protect the identities ) Early Intervention : Mourya was nearly one year old by the time his parents were convinced that he has near total ( Profound ) hearing loss in both ears. Intervention started with usage of hearing aids and speech and language stimulation. He underwent Right Cochlear Implant surgery at the age of 18 months and took regular Auditory Verbal therapy. By 3 years he had near normal speech and language and started attending normal school and was speaking small sentences, but he was having difficulties in communicating in noisy situations .Mourya underwent second ear Cochlear Implant when he was 4 year old. Now he is 9 year old going to normal school, has perfect speech and his performance is on par with his normal hearing peers.
Late Intervention: Karuna was confirmed as having Bilateral profound hearing loss at the age of 5 years, though the parents started suspecting at 3 years. Parents reported that she used hearing aids on and off for couple of years and started communicating with sign language as she did not develop any speech. Though she attended a normal school, no verbal communication was there. She underwent Cochlear Implant surgery at the age of 14 years and had Auditory Verbal therapy for one year. During therapy, Karuna had to depend on both hearing and visual cues to learn language. Karuna is now 20 year old, she understands and speaks simple sentences, but her speech is distorted. The family is still happy with her limited improvement.
No Intervention: Pradeep is a hearing impaired with confirmed diagnosis at the age of 6 since his family thought that he is not listening though he has hearing, and they hoped that he will develop speech late. He started with hearing aids at 7 and used them occasionally. He did not develop any verbal speech and language ability and started special school at 9 years of age. Pradeep is 19 now and communicates only with sign language.
The earlier the hearing impairment is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of child growing up as any other normal child.
How should parents or caretakers suspect that the child has hearing problem?
0-3 months : Startle response, Eye blinking response to loud sounds
4-6 months : Sound localization, head turning towards a sound
7-10 months : Responds to name calling, recognizes familiar sounds
11-15 months : listens when spoken to
5-8 months : babbles, gurgling sounds
9-11 months : Imitates sounds like ma ma or ta ta
1 year : one or two words
1-2 years : Puts two words together, acquires new words on a regularly
2-3 years : Simple sentences, 2-3 word phrases
3-4 years : sentences with 4 or more words
Any significant delay in hearing or speech milestones needs a specialist’s check up as soon as possible.
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