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Hearing Impairment

Does your child exhibit one or more of these traits? He just might be at risk for hearing loss. 

If you answer YES to the above question, please consult your paediatrician, family doctor, or ENT Specialist who deals with hearing loss in children and who would be able to provide you with more information and guide you to get a complete hearing evaluation for your child. This will enable you to detect any hearing or speech problems in your child at a very young age. If there is parent/caregiver concern regarding your child's hearing abilities despite medical opinion that suggests otherwise, please get your child's hearing tested, even though you feel it may not be necessary. After all, it does not hurt, does it? If you notice that your child does not seem to hear soft sounds, or understand simple words clearly, your should have your child's hearing tested accurately (not just with a rattle/bunch of keys/ by clapping/banging the table or utensils!) 

The 'high risk factors' that essentially indicate whether your child is at risk for hearing loss, are as follows:

  1. Infection or illness during pregnancy (Rubella, Herpes, Syphilis, Cytomegalovirus, Toxoplasmosis, etc)
  2. Drug, nicotine, or alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  3. Low birth weight (Less than 1500 gms or 3.5lbs)
  4. Premature birth requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation or 'high forceps' delivery
  5. Severe asphyxia (If your child did not cry immediately after birth resulting in lack of oxygen at birth)
  6. Low APGAR scores
  7. Ototoxic medications
  8. Malformations of the head, neck, face or ears
  9. Jaundice at birth with a high bilirubin level requiring exchange transfusion. Blood group complications or Rh incompatibility
  10. Family history or permanent or progressively worsening hearing loss in childhood
  11. Bacterial Meningitis
  12. Head trauma (Skull fracture, sharp blow to the head or ears, exposure to sudden loud noises, and objects accidently inserted into ears causing damage)
  13. Any syndrome known to be associated with a hearing loss (Down's syndrome, Waardenburg's syndrome, etc.)
  14. Chronic middle ear infections with persistent fluid in the ears for more than three months
  15. Childhood infectious diseases (Measles, mumps, Flu, viral pneumonia, etc.)
  16. Consanguineous marriage (Marriage amongst close relatives)
  17. Parent or caregiver concern. Parents usually suspect a hearing loss months before the doctor does.

There are tests that can detect and diagnose a hearing problem at any age - right from the first day of a child's life. These tests should be done by a trained Audiologist who has experience in working with children. Even if your child has a mild difficulty with hearing, she could have trouble learning to speak properly. Your child may also have problems with learning concepts at school because of her inability to hear clearly. Your child may demonstrate behaviour problems that may be a result of her inability to hear properly. Thus, it is imperative to observe a child's behaviour carefully from the onset, so that if you notice anything that could be a cause for concern, you could get it corrected at the onset, and prevent possible future complications.

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