Bengaluru: Though there is awareness among mothers that new-borns should be screened for hearing, very few actually do it. An early detection can actually help doctors in rectifying defects, if any.
A recent survey released by Cochlear India along with First Moms Club found that most mothers (84.1%) believed that children should be tested for hearing loss at birth, but few (38.9%) actually got it done.
The week-long survey, covering 500 mothers, found that while mothers are well aware of the need to detect hearing loss early in childhood, they are not fully aware of what they must do or where they can go to get their children screened. The survey also throws light on a bigger problem of screening and implementation.
"National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) under National Health Mission has a provision of screening newborns for hearing loss, but it is only on paper and yet to be implemented. Only corporate hospitals do and that too on high-risk babies,” said Dr Vasanthi Anand, Cochlear Implant Surgeon for IGICH and KC General Hospital.
She lamented that hearing defects are detected late when the child is two-and-half year old and is having speech issues, which is too late to develop a good normal hearing, she added.
The survey also revealed that 55.3% Indian mothers disagree with the statement that hearing loss occurs only at birth and 53.4% Indian moms disagree with the statement that children who suffer from hearing loss at birth are never able to hear again or lead a normal life. "Parents should take children for a hearing test, which is only a five-minute long procedure. The sooner a child can be screened for hearing loss, the effective would the treatment be," she elaborated. In fact, when the child is still at the hospital for the first three days of his life and when the doctors immunize him, he can also be screened for hearing loss. That is how it happens in the West, she said.