According to World Health Organization, 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and 32 million of these are children. Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing. But did you know 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes. Interventions to prevent, identify and address hearing loss are cost-effective and can bring great benefit to individuals. Early detection is always helpful to take good decision whether to use hearing aids, or CochlearTM implants or other assistive devices. WHO assists Members States in developing programmes for ear and hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system of the country.
Finding hearing loss early can help many infants to develop normal language skills without delay. In infants born with hearing loss, treatments should start as early as age 6 months. Treatment depends on cause and level of hearing loss. The treatments are, Speech therapy, learning sign language, Cochlear implant and other medical treatments.
Hearing aids are devices designed to improve hearing that help to provide sound signals to the brain. There are number of hearing assistive devices, with different types such as body worn aids, behind the ear, in the ear aids etc., Cochlear implant is a significant one, hearing aids have some limitations but Cochlear Implant is a permanent solution. it is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a hearing loss person. A cochlear implant act as an inner ear (Cochlea) sends sound signal to the brain. It can be useful for people suffering from moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. For those does not get little or no benefit from hearing aids, cochlearTM implants are helpful after hearing aids show no scope.
A CochlearTMImplant has two parts, an internal part called the cochlear implant, which is surgically implanted with a minor surgery gets 3 hours of time and the external part called speech processor, It uses two small microphones to pickup sounds. It turns those sounds into signals and sends them to a transmitter. The transmitter sends the signals through the skin to the internal implant. The internal implant converts the coded signals into electrical energy and sends them to the electrode array. This stimulates the nerve fibres in the cochlea and the signals are recognized by the brain as sound.
Cochlear implants will help make communication easy. Lead a normal life like everyone else who wakes up to alarms, can hear people calling out to them, can alert themselves towards a phone call or a car honk. Cochlear Implants don’t just help in mental and psychical development of a child but also help in bridging the psychological gap between a hearing impaired child and a normal child.
Mostly people go in for a unilateral implant, however after the launch of KansoTM , Cochlears’ simple, discreet and smart sound processor there has been a shift in the market. Many people are going in for a bilateral implant because KansoTM is invisible. Well not really, but KansoTM is a wireless sound processor that comes in various shades of the hair. E.g. if one has black hair, they can buy a black KansoTM and if one has grey hair they can purchase a grey colour KansoTM This discreet sound processor often gets hidden between the hair and is never visible to people until they actually go through your hair to fetch it.
Hearing clinic testing for children
Why is it important to have the baby’s hearing screened early?
A child needs to start learning languages by the time he or she is three years old, but basically children begin recognizing and learning speech patterns and language by the time they are six months old. Generally children with hearing loss develop language skills very late or not at all if the degree of hearing loss is severe. However, it is claimed that children with hearing loss can develop language skills as good as normal children if the parents decide to intervene early and go for a Cochlear Implant before or by the age of 2 years. Therefore, the earlier a parent can detect their child’s hearing loss, the sooner they will be able to take measures to ensure that their child develops normally just like other children.
There also are cases when people lose their hearing in later stages of their life. This could be due to listening to loud sounds, medication, other diseases or simply because of less precautions against noise pollution. While hearing is the only sense of the body that can be brought back by technology, its best to take care of your ears and live with the natural sense.
What happens when someone is detected with Hearing loss? Can it reversed?
Yes,There are a number of hearing assistive devices and methods that can assist children who have hearing problems such as:
1. Hearing aids are a device which can make sounds louder; they are worn in or behind the ear and come in several shapes and sizes, and are also available in varying degrees of hearing loss from mild to moderate.
2. Cochlear implants are the permanent solution for hearing loss. It isa small electronic device which can provide a sense of sound for people who have severe hearing loss. A hearing impaired person if closest to natural hearing after a Cochlear Implant. One can get the implant done after a small surgery of 3 hours. Cochlear Implant and processors are easy do and maintain. The only important step that one needs to ensure after the implant is speech therapy. Speech therapy is extremely simple for children under the age of 2 because that’s the perfect age for a child to learn a new language and begin to talk. However, if a child is hearing impaired and is implanted later in his/her life then speech therapy will be a long and a slow process because the child has to unlearn the usual form of communication and re-learn language. Hence, early intervention is the key to hearing loss.
#SoundsOfCricket "The ability to hear well is very important. I want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to experience what I hear, whether that's the sounds of everday life, the sounds of loved ones, or the sounds of cricket." Brett Lee