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How we found out about daughter’s hearing loss



beyond their ability. They are urging well-wishers to help them raise the said amount for her treatment because the earlier she gets the implant done the better.

“We feel overwhelmed with some choices we are being asked to make so early in our child’s life. We have lots of questions, but what matters more to us now is seeing our baby get better. We hope we will be able to raise the said amount for her implant since it is only through implant she will be able to hear, ” Esther adds.

Gabriella is not the only child suffering from hearing loss. Data from World Health Organisation shows that out of 360 million persons in the world with disabling hearing loss, 32 million [about nine per cent of these) are children.

According to audiologist Nancy Kemunto from MP Shah Hospital, hearing loss is a common birth defect that can affect a baby’s ability to develop speech, language, and social skills. That is why the American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC) and the American Academy of Paediatrics [AAP) recommend all babies get screened for hear ing loss before leaving the hospital after birth or before they’re one month old.

“Hearing loss can be partial or total lack of ability to perceive sound. It can be present at birth or acquired at a point in one’s life. Can affect one ear [unilateral deafness) or both ears [bilateral deafness). It can also be mild, moderate, severe or profound,” she says.

And what causes hearing loss in children? Kemunto says some causes include, genetic factors, infections, toxicity, birth complications, prenatal infections, and loud noises.

According to the US CDC one out of four cases of hearing loss in babies is due to maternal infections during pregnancy, complications after birth, and head trauma. About one of two cases of hearing loss in babies is due to genetic causes, and about one of four babies born with hearing loss, the cause is unknown.

Kemunto says children with hearing loss may face some difficulties such as inability to acquire spoken language, interaction with other children, and may end up feeling lonely. The best thing, however, is early screening, diagnosis and treatment can help children with hearing loss develop speech, language, and social skills.

Signs and symptoms

She adds that without new-born hearing screening and tests, signs of hearing loss can be hard to find because sometimes babies and children seem to be very alert, so you think they can hear you well, but they are actually using their other senses to know what is going on around them. Or, as they get older, they learn to read your lips on their own.

However, some signs one can look out for in babies include a child not being startled in presence of loud sound, not turning the head to the source of sound at around six months of age, and at one year they are not saying any word. In older children, having or developing hearing loss may lead to them not having speech or if they have speech it will not be clear. When they are given instruction, they may not follow and one may think that they are either ignoring you or not paying attention.

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