Deaf Children Need Help as Soon as Possible

Deaf Children Need Help as Soon as Possible


The number of deaf children is growing. They need help and it is vital to provide it with the minimum of delay.  Deafness is a progressive and currently irreversible condition, which means that, if it is left unattended, it could become too severe to benefit from the existing assisted hearing technology.


That said, it is a condition that, even among adults who have both the ability to assess themselves and to express their concerns, the early signs can pass unnoticed and, quite often, are even ignored. How much more difficult is it for a child with little past experience of normal hearing or an infant who is unable to communicate other than by crying? To ensure that deaf children who may need help will get it in time, will first require adults to become aware of a possible problem. Consequently, parents will need to be aware of and keep an eye open for the quite subtle signs that a son or a daughter may be experiencing a problem with his or her hearing.


Hearing loss is almost always a secondary effect and, when the underlying cause is successfully treated, may often just be temporary. In early life, the primary cause is most often an ear infection contracted by swimming in unchlorinated water or, itself, a secondary effect of a cold or flu. Although only temporarily deaf, children still need help in the form of antibiotics to clear up these infections as quickly as possible. Failure to do so or incomplete treatments can lead to repeat infection that could eventually become chronic.


Chronic infection of the outer or middle ear is a significant cause of permanent hearing loss in very young subjects, so earaches should always be taken seriously and referred to a GP. Infants are prone to suffer ear infections also and a crying baby, that tends to be constantly touching its ear, which will often be red due to inflammation, should also be referred as a precaution.


The deaf children who most often need help today are not the victims of ear infections or of the side effects of medication. It is excessive noise that, in the modern world, is becoming the most common cause of hearing loss in the young. From the time a child acquires his or her first iPod or other portable music device, it is likely that some degree of auditory impairment is inevitable. Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is now the single most common form of deafness worldwide and, alarmingly, it is affecting our young people, some of whom are still of primary school age, to a greater extent than adults. 


To avoid having deaf children in need of help, there are two ways in which parents can help. Firstly, they need to monitor the use of these iPods and mobiles, ensuring that they are not played at full volume and that, if possible, they are used with headphones, rather than the in-the-ear phones usually supplied as standard.


For those who have been using such devices extensively, there is a risk that damage has already occurred and parents should arrange a visit to an audiology clinic, without delay. The Ear Institute operates 20 clinics and our experts provide attention for deaf children who need help.


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