Kochi is the first city in India where infants may receive routine screenings for hearing impairment. The screenings are performed at the Kochi Child Care Centre of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. In the 400 newborns screened in the new programme, 25 babies were found to suffer from hearing problems. Seven of these have since been fitted with hearing aids.
Importance of testing
It is essential that hearing loss be detected early on, in order to prevent damage to the childâ€™s speech and language development. Ideally, a hearing impaired newborn should be fitted with hearing aids before the age of six months to insure normal speech and language development.
â€If the impairment is detected after age one, the remedy will not be fully effective as the impairment must have already affected language and speech skill,â€ said Abraham Paul, a pediatrician and coordinator of the newborn hearing screening programme at the Kochi Child Care Centre.
The plan is for the newborn screening programme to be adopted in all districts in this region of India.
Sources: www.healthlibrary.com and www.thehindu.com