Has Your Newborn Undergone a Neonatal Hearing Test?
Hearing impairment is not a condition that only affects the elderly. It can affect anyone, including a newborn baby or even a toddler. Oftentimes, most of the hearing disability cases aren’t given importance until the repercussions start surfacing. According to the World Health Organization, over 50 lakh children in India suffer from hearing and speech impairment.
Reasons for Hearing Loss
Hearing loss occurring due to damage in the inner ear or the nerve that runs from ear to the brain is called sensorineural deafness. If not diagnosed and treated in time, the condition may worsen, and, in some cases, become untreatable. The other most common reason for hearing loss is a genetic disorder. Hereditary conditions can cause the inner ear to develop abnormally.
Importance of a Neonatal Screening Test
Ideally, hearing screening tests must be conducted as soon as baby is born. It is one of the most important tests conducted on a baby and can help to identify the signs of hearing loss in most infants and toddlers. More than half of the hearing loss cases can be mitigated with early detection and intervention. Identifying hearing disability proactively can help prevent a delay in speech and language development.
Identifying the Initial Signs of Hearing Disability
It is important to notice how baby responds to noise in the first six weeks to three months of life. Baby should begin babbling when she is between four to six months and should be able to respond to familiar voices by the time she is nine months old. Baby should be able to speak her first words by the time she is one year old.
Types of Screening Tests
There are two types of primary hearing screening tests - otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and auditory brainstem response. These tests are known to detect 80 to 90 percent of all hearing disabilities in infants and toddlers. Depending on the severity of the condition, hearing aids and cochlear implants are recommended to amplify audibility and assist in hearing. Thereafter, the child will also have to undergo speech and language training for overall improvement.
You are undoubtedly waiting to hear your little one’s first word. However, if she is unable to hear what you are saying, she will be unable to speak. Early diagnosis, regular evaluation, and proper treatment will help your child lead a normal and happy life.