This March 3rd being the World Hearing Day we were invited to get our child tested for hearing test. The event was organized by Cochlear India, the market leader in hearing implants to spread awareness and provide hands-on experience of a hearing test.
Every child is a blessing of God and is a wonderful joy to be around. I love the squeals of laughter and fun we have when I meet children. This is a post with a strong message for all parents. When we had our baby, we were so excited and happy to have someone so cute and chubby in our arms. When the doctor said, “Bring her for evaluation,” We were worried as to why he is checking her nose, weight, height, tongue, ears, eyes and so on. We were then told the tests were to done to check if everything was alright. You can imagine a huge sigh of relief when we were told that everything was clean. But nationwide, statistics speak something else. Let me explain.
In India, 63 million people (6.3%) suffer from significant auditory loss. Four in every 1000 children suffer from severe to profound hearing loss. With over 100,000 babies that are born with hearing deficiency every year. The estimated prevalence of adult-onset deafness in India was found to be 7.6% and childhood onset deafness to be 2%.
Now you must be wondering why I chose to speak of hearing loss. Our hearing is not an independent sense, it is also quite dependent on several things around us. It is important to note that without hearing a child cannot develop speech and language. Between the ages of 1 – 3, a child grasps words and actions from the environment around them without having any logical reasoning to it. These are the crucial growth years. This is the age when a child begins to recognize people, relate to the environment, hear, talk clearly, and make conversation.
Unfortunately, hearing loss is often not detected until a child is 2, 3, or even 4 years old, especially in rural areas. This is due to the poor awareness about deafness and its relation with speech and language development. Another reason is the lack of infrastructure, no access to a good ENT surgeon, audiologist, audiological equipment, and speech therapist.
We spend so much money on unnecessary things and choose to wait it out and listen to our relatives, friends who say, “Don’t worry, he will speak! You started speaking at the age of 2 as well.” We should get our children checked as soon as they are born and in regular intervals to see if there is any form of hearing loss, and if the hearing milestones are met.
If in case you find that your child needs hearing therapy and hearing loss needs intervention, do not delay and rush to the experts. Please ensure your child grows up like any other normal child and enjoys sounds like they are supposed to be enjoyed. Sometimes the hearing loss is severe and beyond the scope of help that hearing aids can provide. Such cases, need intervention by placing an implant.
The test was simple, swift and the devices were not very intrusive. We got tested for our hearing as well as our children. In case of an agitated child, the doctor would administer a medication to relax and then administer the test. The test would be done within five minutes and you can walk out with your child smiling with the candy. The hearing test would help you relax if your child can hear properly and would alert you if not and take necessary corrective action before it is too late. Hearing loss is not something that happens in a jiffy, it is a gradual process and should be checked regularly.
There are two parts to the device. First is the implant goes onto the skull near the ear. The processor collects sounds that the implant helps the brain decipher. The child can wear it discreetly in her hair and has nothing hanging over her ear.
We got to see the latest innovation, after the hugely popular Freedom and Nucleus 6, Cochlear™ has launched Kanso™ – the smartest, most discreet innovation in the field of cochlear implants to date. It was so discrete, small & cute with no wires – none at all! We met a recipient – young, normal child bubbly off spotlight and shy being in limelight. One of my friends was invited to see where the implant was on her head and she had a tough time to figuring it out – that discrete. Being the latest in technology, it helps the child go undetected and not bullied at school and perform her natural routines with ease. Guess what? Komal is one of the leading contenders in her school for winning Spelling Bee contests.
I would strongly recommend getting your child tested for hearing loss and see if they are matching their milestones. It is a simple, painless test to help you stay on a safer side. By the way, we met Bret Lee, who is the Global Hearing Ambassador for Cochlear™.
Here are some useful links:
- What is hearing loss?
- How to deal with hearing loss
- The causes, consequences, and misconceptions of hearing loss
- Aural rehabilitation in children with hearing loss
- What is a Cochlear implant?
- A video that explains what is a Cochlear™ implant
- Personal stories of Cochlear™ implant recipients
- What is Cochlear™ Nucleus 6?
- What are the Cochlear™ Wireless accessories?