A disruptive boy in class who frequently gets into fights, the quiet little girl who doesn’t seem to be paying attention and the almost four year old child mumbling incoherently; these three children may share a common affliction. They may have problems with hearing.
Children with a hearing impairment have a lot of disadvantages to face. Frustration is felt by both the child and the people around him which could cause them to act out. Because of this impaired ability, communication may become limited and experience low confidence and self-esteem. Children will have a harder time learning to speak and form the sounds properly. If left untreated may severely affect a child’s development. Poor academic performance, language skills and social engagement among others.
This emphasizes the importance of auditory screening. Most countries have infant screening in place to detect deafness and other would be problems for the newborn. This is critical because hearing helps with the child’s ability to speak, communicate and develop early social skills.
But some hearing loss are acquired after the initial screening. This can be caused by exposure to loud noises, infections (mumps, measles, meningitis or whooping cough) or from progressive diseases like Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis, even medication and head injuries.
Some of these can be prevented by strengthening the child’s immune system. An improved maternal and neonatal health care and programs to prevent congenital infection. Immunization programs for both mother and child to combat meningitis, mumps and measles, rubella and pertussis.
Thankfully with the new technologies available, children with complex hearing problems can have a fighting chance with individualised treatment for their unique needs. Depending on the disorder identified and recommendation from their audiologist, they may be given trainings, therapies, programs or assistive devices designed for their specific needs for them to become faster learners, readers, hear better and improve their quality of life.