March 3 is observed as World Hearing Day
2 March 2022
The ability to hear is one of the five primary senses that helps us communicate with others. Unfortunately, the sense of hearing is often taken for granted and people don’t realise its importance unless it is lost or impaired. However, with the advent of the National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD), there is a renewed interest in this health problem.
With World Hearing Day on March 3, Dr Ashok K Gupta, Head, Department of ENT, Fortis Hospital Mohali, discusses the importance of early hearing screening for infants and the Newborn Hearing Programme at Fortis Hospital Mohali.
· What is Newborn Hearing Screening?
Newborn Hearing Screening is a quick procedure that checks a baby’s hearing and identifies those infants who need further testing. As per the Government of India, all newborn babies should undergo screening to detect any hearing problem.
· How is it useful and is it mandatory?
A hearing screening helps determine if an infant’s hearing is normal or not. The Government of India recommends that every child should undergo a hearing screening.
· What test is used for hearing screening?
Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE) is used to determine hearing loss. A microphone is fitted into the ear canal to record cochlear sounds. The test helps check the inner ear’s response to sound.
· When should it be done?
Newborn hearing screening should be performed soon after birth, before getting discharged from the hospital. Early detection of hearing loss helps start early treatment.
· Who should advise for the test?
Ideally, it should be added in the delivery package which a patient takes in a hospital. Otherwise, it should be advised by all neonatologists.
An Audiologist (Hearing Specialist) is a trained expert and can help diagnose a hearing loss.The test is not painful and can be performed in a few seconds if the baby is stable.The cost of the test varies in the private sector.
· What if the test is absent?
If the test comes to be absent under all controlled conditions, then one needs to undergo a test battery for diagnosis of the problem.
· What if we don’t get our child’s hearing assessment done?
One might be missing on crucial information which can later hamper the child’s communication and education.
Discussing the importance of hearing screening for infants, Dr Gupta, said, “Fortis Mohali offers all facilities for newborn babies under one roof. The aim is to screen newborn babies and diagnose any hearing problem. Infants respond to sounds before they can even speak. If the problem is diagnosed early, necessary treatment can be initiated