We celebrated the World Day of Hearing, and the World Health Organization has taken to remember that about 32 million children in the world suffer some kind of loss of disabling hearing, which is an obstacle to education and social integration. The vast majority lives in low- and middle – income countries, but these problems can reach anywhere.
WHO estimates that about 60% of hearing loss in childhood could be avoided with preventive measures, it is vital for early diagnosis. Now we have talked about signs of hearing loss, signs that we have to be careful that there are no complications.
However, why is it so important that the children hear well? In the middle stage of development in infants and children, hearing is essential to learn to speak: the most obvious impact of hearing loss in childhood has to do with language acquisition.
This disorder also affects learning a whole and the development of social skills and attitudes. That is, a child will have difficulty hearing impaired to participate fully in social life and get good school performance; hence, hearing loss hinders their education and social integration.
For the child, communication problems can cause a feeling of anger, stress and loneliness, and emotional and enduring psychological consequences, such as lack of self-esteem, which can profoundly affect the whole family.
If hearing loss is inevitable, interventions are needed to ensure children achieve their full potential turning to rehabilitation, education and empowerment. International medical and child advocacy organizations appeal to individual governments to act in these areas.
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The importance of early detection
Early detection is essential to curb some consequences, although there are other factors that determine the damage of hearing loss in people, especially children
- Age of onset: It is not the same hearing loss at an older age than in the first years of life.Early childhood is the optimal stage for the acquisition of speech and language. The impact of hearing loss is greatest in children who are born with it or suffer shortly after birth.
- Degree of hearing loss: Can be from mild to profound.The higher the gravity, the greater the impact.
- Age detection and intervention: The earlier hearing loss is detected, the sooner thesupport services, the greater the chances that the child acquire spoken language are provided. The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing recommends that all children with hearing loss have been the subject of an intervention at six months of age. Early detection and intervention are also conducive to a significant decrease of costs of teaching that involves loss hearing, and enhance the ability to make a living in the future.
- Environment: The general environment of the life of a child with hearing loss, including access to services, significantly influences its development.Children living in disadvantaged environments or developing countries have difficulties in accessing technologies and other means to help them overcome their difficulties. Children with hearing loss have access to hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language and special education often can participate on an equal footing with children with normal hearing capacity. The support of parents and family facilitates the social integration of children with hearing loss.
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As we see in the last two points, it is essential to a health and social system that helps detect and treat as soon as possible cases of children with hearing problems. It depends largely on the future and happiness of children. Where do we start us in our environment? Not to let suspected hearing problems, have a day our vaccinations, not expose children to loud noises and not miss the usual pediatric revisions.