Why Early intervention is important for deaf children?
Babies bring joy in their family and there is a smile on parents face as they are born. The initial development cycle of a new born baby is crucial. As per the study conducted by WHO it says that four in ever 1000 babies are born with some hearing loss. This means more than 100000 babies are born each year with hearing loss and this situation is neglected in India.
Hearing loss in babies is usually not detected at the early stage because there are unable to communicate during that stage. So, until a child is 2-4 years of age, hearing loss in not detected and specially in the rural areas because of lack of awareness. In this situation, a child with hearing loss in unable to respond to basic communication and also is unaware about the basic speech and language abilities.
Congenital hearing loss (hearing loss present at birth) is among the most wide spreaded sensory impairments’ in India. The Congenital deafness in children are treatable or can be managed with an assistive device and that only about 30% of congenital deafness is untreatable. However, early diagnosis in children is important to manage or treat hearing impairement effectively which will give close to accurate results.
Newborn Hearing-Screening programme is available now in India and the baby is undergone the screening once the baby is born.
It is usually carried out while the baby is settled or sleeping at the mother's bedside. Any baby who does not have a clear response from the screen, will be referred for full audiological assessment at an Audiology Clinic (hearing clinic).
Newborn screening is safe, simple and painless, it takes only a few minutes, and could make a significant difference to the future of a child with hearing loss. Hearing milestones that should be reached in the first year of life include:
Most newborns are startled by sudden loud noises.
By 3 months, a baby usually recognizes a parent's voice.
By 6 months, an infant can usually look, or turn his head toward a sound.
By 12 months, a child can usually imitate sounds and produce basic words, such as 'Mama' or 'Bye'.
With early intervention, baby diagnosed with hearing loss, immediate steps can be taken to develop language skills to help them communicate freely and actively learn. The earlier you come to know about your baby’s hearing loss the sooner you can make sure your child benefits from strategies that will help him or her learn to communicate. However, if the baby’s hearing loss is ignored, the hearing loss can negatively impacts the child development in terms of language skill, child development etc. Hence, early intervention is very important for both the child and the family.