CHENNAI: As per a recent study by Cochlear India, an estimated 5-6 of every 1,000 newborns suffer from some degree of hearing loss in India.
Though parents are able to recognize the signs, very few of them seek treatment and a recent study by Cochlear India and First Moms Club also brings out these facts.
As per the study, though 84.1 per cent parents knew that children should be tested for hearing loss and needed medical aid at birth, only 38.9 per cent actually had their child screened. Three in 10 mothers surveyed were not sure if children with hearing loss were able to hear again or lead a normal life. This highlighted the need of awareness on cochlear screening.
In the wake of world hearing day, medicos emphasize on the need to aware parents on seeking treatment for hearing loss early in childhood at an early stage to prevent delay in diagnosis and medical aid.
“There is a need for alert parents to look for signs that determine if a child needs hearing evaluation. Early diagnosis helps to realize the hearing ability and potential of a child. With various technological advancements, the chances to restore hearing have increased and hearing loss burden can be certainly reduced with timely diagnosis,” said Dr S Chitra, ENT specialist.
Research shows that children identified with hearing loss who get early intervention can develop language (spoken and/or signed) skills on par with their peers with normal hearing. These children are able to attend mainstream schools, communicate with their teachers and classmates, make new friends and feel confident in a world full of sound.
Emphasizing on the need of a universal newborn hearing-screening programme as part of the National Deafness Control Programme, Dr. Milind Kirtane, senior ENT consultant and cochlear implant surgeon said that if there is a countrywide programme for hearing screening like the neighbouring state Kerala, hearing can be restored or eased. “Countries that have made newborn hearing screening mandatory are able to take corrective measures in children as young as six months of age,” he said.
Medicos suggest that real time data of newborn screening can be recorded and shared with other institutions such as District Early Intervention Centers (DEICs) and medical colleges, which can be followed up in schools and Anganwadis.
When contacted, senior officials at the state health department said that after bringing cochlear implant under the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMHIS), the state is working towards making newborn cochlear screening compulsory....