Awareness on hearing impairment
Anmol was a bubbly 3-year old, except that he wouldn’t talk. On consultation his pediatrician assured his parents that he would talk some day. Relatives said, it ran in the family and that many of his uncles were late talkers. All was OK till one day his nursery teacher complained that he was not responding to name call and did not seem to be following instructions. She concluded that he either could not hear or was retarded. The distraught parents immediately got his hearing tested and to their utmost dismay, Anmol had profound hearing impairment in both his ears. A year down the line, after being fitted with hearing-aids and intensive speech-language therapy, Anmol speaks a few words though not very clear, and can fairly manage to follow commands in classroom. However the progress could have been much better had he been intervened early. Three vital years of his life were wasted due to lack of awareness.
In case of hearing-impairment, “a stitch in time saves nine” holds utmost significance. An alert parent, family member or neighbor can prevent a lot of misery by early identification of symptoms in children.
Following is a guideline for parents and child health practitioners.
Early response to be looked for:
- Birth – 2 months → startling response to loud sounds
- 2months – 6months → eye movements to sounds
- 6months – 12 months → head turning response to sounds, human voice
- > 12 months → child babbles mama…baba… etc.
- 1½ years → single meaningful words
- 2½ years → 2- word phrases (“mama give”; “give ball”)
- 3 years and above → meaningful simple sentences (“mama give ball”)
If the child
- Has been a high risk baby at birth (e.g. Neonatal jaundice, premature baby, birth asphyxia, prolonged labor, birth trauma or any other observable disorder) or
- At any point of time, doesn’t respond to sounds or
- Is delayed in speech-language milestones or
- An older child (i.e. >5years) has unclear speech,
For querries contact,
Mrs.Priya Nayak-Gole (MASLP,Mumbai)
Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologist
CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai