HEARING IMPAIRMENT
Last Updated : 1/6/2011
Fatema Jagmag
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My child does not seem to hear when I call out to him. How do I know if my child's hearing is normal?
When your child does not respond to the sounds in the environment, does not give you eye contact on his name calling and his speech appears to be delayed, then your child may have a

hearing deficit

.

How do I confirm that my child may have

deafness

?

Take your child to an Audiologist to check the hearing. Depending on the age of the child, the audiologist will decide on the method for testing his hearing. For instance:
- Neonates and infants could be tested by BERA (Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry) which is an objective test.
- Children in the age group of 2 - 3 yrs could be screened using free field audiometry.
- Children above 3yrs could be conditioned and then a full fledged audiogram can be done.

What is an

audiogram

?

An audiogram is a graph of intensity v/s frequency. This is a subjective test by which one can find the hearing thresholds of the child over a range of speech frequencies i.e. 125Hz - 8000Hz. It helps to determine not only whether your child is deaf and but also in which range of sound frequency, the hearing is most impaired. It also determines how severe is the hearing loss in your child. This can help in determining the further course of action while treating the child.

What should I do after the

audiological evaluation

?

After the audiological evaluation, the child has to be fitted with a suitable pair of hearing - aids, which will enable the child to use his residual hearing to its maximum potential.

Which hearing - aids would be the best for my child?
An experienced audiologist would be able to prescribe suitable hearing aids by keeping in mind the following parameters.
- The hearing thresholds of the child
- Responses of the child to the auditory stimulus
- Tolerance level of the child

What the

causes of deafness in a child

?

There are various causes of deafness in a child. The commonest cause of hearing loss in a child is repeated ear infections. Apart from that, problems to the child at the time of the birth, syndromes, infections in the newborn period, hereditary causes may also cause hearing loss. Most of the times the cause of isolated deafness in a child is unknown.

When will my child start speaking?
It depends on the following parameters: For instance:
- Age of the child: If the child is of younger age when treated then he shall start speaking earlier. Ideally, if the child is detected to be hearing impaired before 2 years of age and treated accordingly, then the outcome is much better.
- Suitable hearing-aids: If the child is fitted with the correct hearing aids as per his requirement, then his speech also starts improving as the child hears better.
- Other associated problems like hyperactivity, slow learning etc. If the child has other problems, then the speech may be delayed.
- A team work: Ultimately, it requires Team work by teachers, family members and hearing professionals.

Will my child ever hear properly?
Most of the children who require hearing aids will have some amount of hearing loss for the entire life. However, with the help of the hearing aids, they are able to lead a completely normal life.

When can my child be integrated into a normal school?
The child can be integrated in a normal school when he has learnt the basics of language and speech, which will enable him to interact with his teachers and peers. This can vary from child to child.

How would I know that the hearing aids worn by my child are working adequately?
In this respect, the teacher who teaches the child is the best judge. If the child's responses have changed during the teaching sessions, then a check on the hearing aids is a must.

Ideally, a

full audiological evaluation

of both hearing and hearing aids should be carried out at least annually.

What assistance will I get from the government for my hearing impaired child?
The assistance given is as follows:
- The government gives rebate in Income Tax to individuals who have a hearing impaired child as a dependent or to a hearing impaired individual directly.
- Certain concessions in bus fare and rail fare.
- Certain concessions like studying only one language and taking up a vocational course instead of the second and third language at the board level. Even school principals have the authority to exempt the child from these languages.

Who will certify my child as 'Hearing impaired'?
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will certify your child as hearing impaired. This is done by "Ali Yavar Jung Institute of the Hearing Handicapped". The address is as follows:

Ali Yavar Jung Institute of the Hearing Handicapped
K. C. Marg.
Bandra Reclamation,
Mumbai 400050.
Tel. 91-22-26400215



Contributor Information and Disclosures

Fatema Jagmag
Audiologist & Speech Therapist, AURED, SHABA SPEECH & HEARING CENTRE, MASINA HOSPITAL, AL-SADIQUE ENT & OPHTHALMIC HOSPITAL, Mumbai, India


First Created : 1/24/2001

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