Pune, 9th March 2022: The problem of congenital deafness in India is serious and deep rooted with 4-6 babies suffering from it for every 1,000 normal live births, meaning around 1 lakh children are born with hearing loss every year in India. Speaking of Maharashtra, around 4,500 to 5,000 children are born with some degree of congenital hearing loss.
World Hearing Day 2022 was recently observed on March 3, and Cochlea Pune for Hearing and Speech observes the whole month of March in the same way, where parents can bring their newborn or young child for a hearing test free at the Cochlea Pune for Hearing & Speech center in Pune.
Why early diagnosis and early intervention are needed. Hearing loss is a hidden disability because the child is otherwise quite normal physically and mentally. So, by the time deafness is identified, the child has almost passed the age of 3-4 years. The most obvious effect of congenital deafness is on language and speech development, as the tendency of the human brain to learn a language and speak only lasts 6 years.
It also has an impact on the literacy, self-esteem, communication and social skills of the child with congenital hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss is often associated with poor academic performance, which will lead to reduced job opportunities later in life. This further leads to emotional and psychological consequences such as a feeling of isolation, loneliness, depression, etc. so the nation too.
Speaking to the media, Dr Akshay Wachasunder, ENT surgeon, said: “All babies should be screened for hearing loss no later than one month old. It is best if they are screened before leaving the hospital after birth. This is done by doing an OAE test. If a baby does not pass this hearing test, it is very important to have a full hearing test as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months of age. Newborns with specific risk factors, for example those who have been treated for more than 5 days in a neonatal intensive care unit or who require ventilation, are advised to be referred for immediate screening or go directly to a diagnostic (confirmatory) evaluation. If identified at an early age, hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids/cochlear implants and speech therapy which will help overcome the hearing impairment.
What are the first signs of congenital deafness?
the baby is not startled by loud sounds
baby does not turn to source of sound
· unable to say words like ‘mom’, ‘dad’ at the age of 1 year.
· The mother can detect hearing loss in her baby much more quickly because the baby does not respond to her sound when she calls her name.
What to do if you suspect hearing loss –
visit your pediatrician
consult an ENT surgeon
Obtain audiological tests such as Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry (BERA), Oto Acoustic Emission (OAE) to confirm hearing loss.
Treatment of congenital sensorineural hearing loss: –
Treatment for congenital hearing loss depends on the severity of the hearing loss.
Hearing aids are beneficial for children with moderate to moderately severe hearing loss.
The cochlear implant is a recent modality and has revolutionized the treatment of profound deafness. Hearing aids simply amplify sounds while cochlear implants give a real sense of hearing and bypass the damaged part of the ear and use electrical stimulation to let you hear. The cochlear implant also helps to hear and understand speech without lip reading. Cochlear implants along with auditory talk therapy also improve the child’s speech clarity.
Role of Cochlea Pune for Hearing and Speech and Moraya Hospital
The particularity of our center is that we offer a holistic approach for the treatment and rehabilitation of children with hearing loss in our institution. Our specialty is working under one roof to reverse hearing impairment. In collaboration with Moraya Multispecialty Hospital, our center has successfully performed more than 140 cochlear implant surgeries. Moraya Hospital is incorporated under various government schemes like ADIP and RBSK which helps fund cochlear implant surgeries thus enabling families from the economically weaker section to avail cochlear implant surgery free of charge which usually costs around Rs. 700000/-.
Our center ensures that each implanted child receives auditory talk therapy near his residence and also provides financial assistance for it and our hospital provides regular and long-term monitoring of the child’s progress. Knowing the scarcity of specialized educators needed for rehabilitation, our center has started to train the mothers of hearing-impaired babies. These mothers not only teach their own babies, but also care for other babies who have congenital hearing.
During early development, the first impact of hearing occurs on a child’s speech and language development. If a child cannot hear at an early age, their brain begins to adapt to understand sound through other organs like the eyes and begins to use gestures to meet their needs. At an older age, he or she becomes a sign language user if the hearing loss is not treated at an early age