Hearing loss can affect a child’s speech, language, and social skills. The earlier hearing loss is treated the more is the likelihood of the child reaching their full potential.
The world health organisation’s research suggests that children who are born deaf or develop hearing loss early in life and who get intervened with the needed treatment within six months of age, are at an equal level to their hearing peers in terms of language enhancement by the time they are five years of age.1
Importance of treating hearing loss early in children
Early treatment can put your kid's hearing advancement comparable to their hearing companions - giving them an equivalent chance to excel throughout everyday life.2,3
Getting treatment at the earliest can have numerous advantages - including establishing the framework for basic language, permitting children to create social aptitudes, and helping them prevail in school
Children who got cochlear implants before shown more grounded language abilities contrasted with those treated when they were two years of age
Approximately eighty percent of children who had received cochlear implants before turning one showed a thorough understanding of different words by the time they began school4.
The graph below showcases the results of a global study conducted by the Hearing Cooperative Research Centre, Australia.
As the age at activation increases, the global language score lowers
Development of Speech & Language
From your baby’s first sputter, to his/her sensitive chatter following a day at school, the capacity to talk grows progressively. Be that as it may, before your kid articulates his/her first word, he/she will be picking up language skills from the grown-ups around
Early signs of hearing loss in children
Signs and symptoms for each child may be different. It is important to look out for the following signs even if the child has passed a screening test
It is important to note early signs of hearing loss in your child and consult a specialist for the same. Check out early signs of hearing loss in children
SIGN IN BABIES
No startling at loud noises
No response toward the source of sound after 6 months of age
Unable to say single words like ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ by 1 year of age
Hears certain sounds but not others
Turn their head when they see you but not when you call them out loud
SIGN IN CHILDREN
Turns the television or a video volume up too high
Says ‘Huh?’ Frequently
Screening, Diagnosis & Intervention:
Early intervention is critical for your child’s language and social advancements. It is a significant factor that drives better outcomes in a child.
The road to early intervention begins from screening a baby at birth and undergoing a complete hearing assessment by contacting a professional.
OAE is a screening tool and mostly used in hospitals to screen for hearing loss6. In case your child fails the screening test, this is followed by BERA/ ABR (auditory brain stem response) testing, which is used for evaluating the degree of hearing loss. A test battery is used like behavioral testing BOA (Behavioural observation Audiometry) and VRA (Visual response Audiometry) which are done to quantify the degree of hearing loss. Once the degree of hearing loss is established, your professional will guide you through the right treatment options.
Experts globally suggest that a 1-3-6-month approach should be followed for babies5
It is recommended that babies get their screening done no later than 1 month of age. In case a baby does not pass a hearing screening, it is extremely important to conduct a full hearing test as soon as possible or at most by 3 months of age. Post the diagnosis, appropriate treatment and measures should be in place by 6 months of the baby’s age.
Screening and rescreening no later than 1 month of age
Diagnostic assessment no later than 3 months of age
Early intervention for babies diagnosed with a hearing loss no later than 6 months of age
The centre of disease control and detection suggests that a child must undergo a hearing test before entering school or whenever a hearing loss sign is observed by the parents. In a situation where the child does not pass the screening, it becomes crucial to get a full hearing test.
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Childhood Hearing Loss. (2016). World Health Organization
Ching, T. Y. C., & Dillon, H. (2013). Major findings of the LOCHI study on children at 3 years of age and implications for audiological management. International Journal of Audiology, 52(sup2), S65–S68.
Ching, T. Y., Dillon, H., Button, L., Seeto, M., Van Buynder, P., Marnane, V., Cupples, L., & Leigh, G. (2017). Age at Intervention for Permanent Hearing Loss and 5-Year Language Outcomes. Pediatrics, 140(3), e20164274.
Dettman, S. J., Dowell, R. C., Choo, D., Arnott, W., Abrahams, Y., Davis, A., Dornan, D., Leigh, J., Constantinescu, G., Cowan, R., & Briggs, R. J. (2016). Long-term Communication Outcomes for Children Receiving Cochlear Implants Younger Than 12 Months. Otology & Neurotology, 37(2), e82–e95.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007, December). Early Hearing Detection and Intervention. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-b). Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).