The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has declared September 26 as World Day of the Deaf. Globally also the week is observed as the ‘International Week of the Deaf’ by World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to raise awareness on hearing impairment. Did you know that Hearing loss is the second most common disability in children in India after loco-motor disability? Over 27000 children in India are born deaf every year. However, it is often treated as a low profile disability, because of low awareness. Research shows that with hearing impairment in infants can adversely affect their speech and language acquisition. Thus their academic and social development also suffers as a result.
The 1-3-6 rule
ENT specialists often talk about the 1-3-6 rule when it comes to detection of hearing loss in infants. This is firstly to screen for hearing loss before the first month; secondly to confirm the handicap by three months and thirdly, to intervene in case of confirmed hearing loss by six months. They feel that different sections of our society should be made aware about this rule. These include parents, pediatricians and social workers. Some E.N.T. specialists claim that ideally children detected with hearing loss should be made to wear hearing aids by the age of 6 months. By this time therapy should also be started. If the child still does not respond with this intervention then cochlear implant will ensure that very deaf child has the opportunity to learn language and hear and speak like anyone else. Some of them consider that the cochlear implant surgery is safe and is now done in thousands of young children. But to be effective, it has to be done early.
Cochlear Implantation treatment in children
Cochlear Implant is the implantation of an electronic device through surgery. With the cochlear implant a bypass is made to the damaged hair cells and brings about the direct stimulation of the auditory nerve. The electronic device implanted consists of an external part which has a microphone which is used to pick up on the external sounds. It transmits the same to the speech processor. This is a box type unit which analyzes the sound signals transmitted. The internal device has electrodes which are directly connected with the auditory nerve and thus get stimulated to provide the sensation of sound.
The results of cochlear implants are uncertain if performed on a child over two years. But having the problem detected at an early stage and performing the implant before the child is two years is the only solution to treat the problem. In the whole process both the parents and the pediatricians have equally important roles. This is why hearing ability tests should be conducted or performed on more and more newborns
So in case you have a newborn who may show initial symptoms of hearing problem, you must for an immediate hearing test to assess the hearing loss. Bengal Speech is one of the leading hearing loss treatment clinics where hearing tests as well cochlear implant surgeries are conducted under expert audiologists. For details visit our website.