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Parents must continue to be vigilant.

DeafHear; Parents Corner: Parents must continue to be vigilant 2013.

Many children will acquire a hearing loss in childhood.

With the successful introduction of newborn hearing screening in Ireland by the HSE, children born with hearing loss will be diagnosed early in life. Provided the children and their families receive quality support and intervention, this will result in significant lifelong benefits for the children. Up to 200 children will be diagnosed annually with some level of hearing loss from the newborn hearing screening programme.

However, evidence is emerging that parents must continue to be vigilant about their children’s hearing, even though their child may have passed the newborn hearing screening programme. During childhood, the number of children with hearing loss doubles from approximately two per thousand at birth to four per thousand by 15 years of age.

Possible causes of post-natal hearing loss in children.

  • Possible causes of post-natal hearing loss in children.

  • Genetic causes/family history.

  • Syndromes associated with deafness.

  • Trauma to the head.

  • Repeated ear infections.

  • Perforated ear drum.

  • Bacterial meningitis.

  • Infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.

  • Certain medications that are ototoxic.

It is therefore important that parents continue to monitor their child’s hearing throughout childhood, especially in the early years which are so critical for speech and language development. One recent study in the US suggested that ‘parents, pediatricians, and family physicians may have a false sense of security from a normal hearing screening result’ (Dedhia et al, 2013). The study also found that parental concerns was the most common way in which post natal hearing loss was ultimately identified in children who had initially passed newborn hearing screening tests.

DeafHear believes that parental vigilance, and vigilance on the part of health professionals and teachers is vital. Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Information said ‘While the introduction of newborn hearing screening is most welcome, it is important that parents and other professionals do not become complacent. This is especially so during the early years when speech and language development is critical, and children are too young to report their difficulty.’

A short guide to monitoring children’s hearing in the early years is available on the DeafHear website at www.deafhear.ie, and DeafHear advises any parent who is concerned about their child’s hearing to speak to their GP or contact their local DeafHear Resource Centre.

DeafHear June 2013

Source: Children With Sensorineural Hearing Loss After Passing the Newborn Hearing Screen, Kavita Dedhia, MD; Dennis Kitsko, DO; Diane Sabo, PhD; David H. Chi, MD
Author Affiliations JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013;139(2):119-123. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2013.1229. doi:10:1001/jama.2010.920

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