Hearing abnormalities in a child can deprive him or her of developing proper speech skills, in spite of not having any defect in the speech organs. This is mainly due to the lack of developing language skills, the precursor of which is hearing. The initial few years of a new born child is an important phase, where he or she is more likely to pick up the language being spoken around. Hence, it is vital to detect hearing inconsistencies beforehand, and take appropriate measures.
What Is The Cause Behind The Hearing Anomaly?
A defect like this can have a number of reasons behind it. It can either happen after birth, during birth or at the time of fetal period, when the baby is still in the womb. During the pregnancy period, a mother is susceptible to developing abnormalities due to genetic, non-genetic and medical reasons.
Certain infections may develop over time, including those by herpes 1 and 2, rubella, cytomegalovirus, and taxoplasma; all of which can cause hearing loss in the child. Thalidomide, quinine, gentamycin and streptomycin are some of the drugs that should be averted in pregnancy period, since they can pose threat to the fetus. Alcoholism can be another reason as well.
During birth, the child can attain meningitis or he/she may be born prematurely, which can lead to hearing loss. After birth, some viral infections like mumps, measles and influenza can lead to deafness. High levels of noise at the very onset of life can be damaging to the hearing apparatus, and so can be ear toxic drugs.
How To Identify The Hearing Anomaly
It’s difficult to detect the hearing anomaly at the time of birth; however, certain abnormal behavior afterwards can raise doubts, if you are careful enough. Initially the child may not respond surprisingly to loud noises, or may even sleep in a noisy environment. Normally children start crying if the noise is too loud. Another basic instance is when someone calls them by name, and they don’t show any head turn response. Unless you figure this out as quickly as possible, the child can have a hard time grabbing the language and speech skills, which will later affect his normal life.
Assessing The Hearing Ability
Certain screening procedures can be used for high risk infants, which include Auditory Brainstem Responses and Otoacoustic emissions. These tests are normally performed by trained nurses who screen children to detect hearing impairment just after birth. In case the child fails the test, an audiologist will perform diagnostic tests to figure out the extent of the hearing loss. Besides that, certain behavioral techniques may also be employed to ascertain the type and extent of hearing anomaly.
What Can Be Done?
As a parent if you find out that your child has some sort of hearing abnormalities, you need to be aware of the demands in case of such a defect, and know how to deal with it patiently. Ideally, the child should receive intensive rehabilitation, along with hearing aids to maximize residual hearing. The whole process can be slow and tough, but it is very important to give your child a good social life in future.