Hyderabad: Seven in 10 children are not screened for hearing loss when they are born, according to Cochlear India Survey which found out that many babies are identified with hearing loss only after they are two-years-old. This is because majority of the mothers are not clear about these tests and they are not aware of what they must do or where they must go.
Three in 10 mothers, who underwent a survey, were not sure whether children with hearing loss will be able to hear again or lead a normal life. Research shows that children identified with hearing loss can develop language skills (spoken and/or signed) on par with their peers with normal hearing, if they get early medical help. 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. While 84.1 per cent agreed that newborns must be tested for hearing loss, screening was carried out by only 38.9 per cent.
Dr Janardhan Rao, cochlear implant surgeon, explained that the study has shown that the hearing must be checked early and it is important that parents are vigilant to take steps soon. “The ability to hear starts by 15 weeks when the child is growing in the womb. They listen to talks, songs, in addition to environmental sounds. This is also important for the development of brain and its maturing,” he said.
In India, hearing loss is estimated to occur in 5 to 6 of every new born and only a few parents are able to recognise signs and seek treatment. The delay in diagnosis affects the language skills and also the overall development of a child.