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What causes Hearing loss in children? Know its treatment

Our perception of surroundings, what we feel, hear, or see is based on the inputs we get from our senses. How humans perceive the world is reconciled through sensory actions at the very least. Among all our senses, hearing facilitates communication, helps us shape relationships and social interaction by participating in daily activities with our families, peers, and friends. The capability to hear also alerts of dangers during the experience in life.

Children not able to hear well may stay behind in the classroom!

Based on data collected by WHO, over 360 million people (5% of the world’s population) have a hearing disorder; out of these, nearly 32 million are children (roughly 10%). Most of these cases manifest in the world’s low-income and middle-income countries. The cases of Hearing loss in kids in Bangalore are on the rise in areas where people with low socio-economic backgrounds reside. It results from the inadequate treatment taken for certain infections and ailments by the birth mother.

For children, hearing is key to develop speech, learn spoken language, perform academically, and engage in social activities. But, unfortunately, bad hearing in children impose a risk of not getting proper education and unable to form social integration. If the hearing loss in children is identified at early stages in life, they can greatly benefit from appropriate interventions.

Tip: WHO estimates over 60% of hearing loss in children could be avoided through prevention measures. In other cases where the condition is unavoidable, medical interventions are needed.

They ensure that children reach their full potential through rehabilitation, education, and empowerment. To manage the hearing loss in kids in Bangalore, there is an ENT clinic which has experienced pediatric ENT specialists who perform advanced treatments to counter hearing loss at the beginning and able to help kids with utmost precision.

Impact of hearing loss if not addressed can be severe

The most apparent consequence of hearing loss in children can be seen in language acquisition. The condition also has affect literacy, the development of social skills, attitudes, and self-esteem. If the hearing loss is not treated in time, it leads to academic underachievement. The same is directly associated with lower job performance and unsatisfactory employment opportunities later in life.

For a kid, the inability to communicate may lead to feelings of loneliness, anger, and stress. It also has emotional or psychological consequences which may have a profound effect on the family as a whole. There are several factors that determine the impact of hearing loss is on an individual. These include:

  1. Extent of hearing loss
  • This may range from mild to profound
  • The higher the severity, the greater the impact
  1. Age of onset
  • The initial years for a kid are the optimal period for speech and language development
  • The impact is greatest in those who are born with or develop hearing loss soon after birth
  1. Age of identification and intervention
  • The sooner a kid is identified with hearing loss, and the earlier he/she receives support services
  • This has greater opportunity for learning spoken language
  1. Environment and ambiance
  • The living environment and access to services influence the development of a child with hearing loss
  • children with hearing loss who have access to hearing aids and cochlear implants, sign language and special education are able to participate on an equal basis with normal peers

Causes of Hearing loss in children

Hearing loss in children has a lot of causes

  • congenital causes; those present at birth or soon thereafter
  • acquired hearing loss; those occur as a child ages

“It may be a result of several factors combined and it is not always possible to know the exact cause.”

Genetic factors

  • The genetic factors are responsible for over 40% of childhood hearing loss
  • Hearing loss has high evidence in children born of consanguineous marriages
  • A congenital deformity in the ear or hearing nerve can be associated with hearing loss
  • Premature birth and low birth weight can lead to hearing loss in kids

Infections

  • If the birth mother acquires certain infections such as rubella and cytomegalovirus
  • Meningitis, mumps and measles in childhood can lead to hearing loss

Disorders of the ear

  • Ear problems such as ear wax and nonsuppurative otitis media
  • Perforated eardrum and injury to the ear can also cause hearing loss in children

Noise

  • Loud sounds from personal audio devices such as smartphones and MP3 players can cause hearing loss in kids
  • Listing to loud volume for prolonged periods may cause hearing loss
  • Short high-intensity sound from fireworks may cause permanent hearing loss
  • Also, noisy machinery in a neonatal intensive care unit has also contributed to hearing loss

Medicines

  • Medications used to treat infections, malaria, tuberculosis, and cancers are ototoxic
  • Use of ototoxic medications, especially unregulated ones, can commonly cause hearing loss

Early identification of Hearing loss in children is crucial!

Identifying the hearing loss in children at the right time is for timely and appropriate interventions is important as it minimizes the developmental delays. It also facilitates good capability of communication, education & social development. Some programs that screens hearing for infants and young kids can identify hearing loss at early stages.

A research was conducted on hearing loss suggested that children who are born deaf or acquire hearing loss very early in life if receive appropriate interventions within six months of age are more likely to develop language by the time they are five years old in the absence of other impairments. For those children who develop hearing loss at a later age, regular pre-school and school-based hearing screening can identify hearing loss soon after its onset, thereby limiting its adverse impact.

Strategies for Prevention, Care, and Cure

Today, the causes of hearing loss can be identified in a lot of cases, not just for kids for adults as well. A lot of preventive strategies have surfaced and treatments with technology are available to detect hearing loss at the earliest stage of life, and intervention techniques are well established. Thousands of kids with hearing loss in Bangalore are gaining communication and other skills they will need to carry them through life. Various kids have the same opportunities in life as their peers who hear normally. But still, millions of kids are still struggling with undesirable consequences of Hearing loss in Bangalore.

Instant action is required for damage control in case of Hearing loss in kids. To reduce hearing loss and improve outcomes as soon as possible for children with hearing loss; governments, public health agencies, social service organizations, and civil society groups need to collaborate together in this endeavor. If you live in Bangalore and feel that your kid has hearing problems, you are in luck. There is one modern clinic in Bangalore which is using advanced and daycare procedures to treat problems of hearing loss. The treatments are not limited to kids or young children, but adults who are facing problems with hearing can also visit the modern ENT clinic in Bangalore and get the cure.

About the Author:
Dr. Siddharth Vashishtha

MBBS, M.S. | Specialist in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgerie

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