Neonatal screening key to diagnose hearing disability, says expert

  • M Poornima, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2015 18:15 IST

Neonatal screening plays a significant role in early diagnosis of hearing disability. First few months of life is the ideal period of intervention to take necessary steps in the treatment of deafness, said Dr Hema Patel from King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Mumbai, who was in Bhopal on Thursday.

Dr Patel was here to conduct a cochlear implant surgery. So far, she has successfully conducted cochlear implantation on 70 children under the Mukhyamatri Bal Shravan scheme at Chirayu Medical College.

“Early diagnosis and timely intervention is very important to manage deafness. In our country, parents neglect hearing imparity among children. Parents must check hearing abilities of their child if he/she is not reacting to sound or has not learnt to speak at an ideal age. Cochlear implantation gives best results if done at an early age of two-three years,” said Dr Patel.

She further said genetic makeup was among the most common cause of deafness among children. If a mother suffers from infection like Rubella or Torch during pregnancy, the newborn may suffer from deafness, she added.

“Marriages between biological relatives may also lead to deafness. Marriages among relatives sometimes lead to genetic disorders which may make the child deaf. Ototoxic drugs or medicines given for MDR Tuberculosis (TB) was also responsible for deafness,” said Dr Patel.

During her visit here, she lauded the initiative of the state government in reining in deafness among children, but said the government was paying for cochlear implants in only one ear as of now.

“We are still not doing anything for elderly deaf persons in our country. In other countries, 75% cases of cochlear implantation are among elder persons with hearing disability. In our society, people are sympathise with blind persons but it is not the case with the deaf. This thinking should be changed and the government should also take initiative for it,” she said.

Speaking on this occasion, veteran speech therapist Neelam Lulla said speech therapy was very important to teach a child how to speak after cochlear implantation. The role of parents and family members is most important in teaching a child, she added.

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