Even having had the Eye Test at birth, it is essential that the child undergoes new tests throughout childhood, because the hearing loss may be genetic, progressive or caused by infections or ototoxic drugs
The difficulty in hearing can affect a child’s life in many ways. One is in speech development. Therefore, it is important for parents to be aware of a possible delay in oral language in the first two years of life, so that the child does not suffer negative effects on its development, which can cause lifelong embarrassment.
Although speech delay or difficulty, in addition to lack of dialogue, are the most important signs of hearing loss, many parents relate these problems to other disorders and only seek treatment when new symptoms begin to appear. Misdiagnoses and the custom of expecting the child to develop dialogue naturally can lead to irreparable damage in childhood and even adulthood; in addition to delaying the treatment of the hearing deficit.
“The earlier the treatment is started, the greater the chances of development of the child, in addition to better results in the treatment process that enable communicative performance to be achieved more quickly, very close to that of child listeners,” explains Marcella Vidal, speech therapist at Telex Soluções Auditivas, a specialist in child treatment, who complements: “hearing loss can be diagnosed with audiometry, a simple test that detects the disease in up to 90% of cases, depending on the age and collaboration of the child.
Even if the child, when newborn, has passed the Ears Test without presenting alterations, at the slightest sign of difficulty in speech it is important that it is submitted to new tests, because the hearing loss may be genetic or progressive, or even be caused by ototoxic medicines or infections, such as measles, rubella and meningitis, manifesting, therefore, throughout the childhood. Exams such as BAEP (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential) and EOA (Otoacoustic Emission) can detect the degree of hearing loss, serving as a starting point for the otorhinolaryngologist to indicate the most appropriate treatment for each case.
“The maturation process of the central auditory system occurs during the first years of life. For this reason, sound stimulation in this period of greater brain plasticity is essential, since for oral language learning and, consequently, intellectual, emotional and skills development, children must interact with their interlocutors and thus establish new neural connections. It is also important to emphasize that there are differences between listening and listening. The sounds that enter through the ears need to make sense, to have meaning”, points out the phonoaudiologist at Telex, who is an audiology specialist.
Over the years, because of the lack of dialogue with other people, hearing loss affects children’s socialization and self-esteem and can also greatly impair their cognitive development and literacy. According to the School Census, between 2011 and 2016 there was a 23% reduction in the universe of deaf students, which suggests that this public would be leaving school. Not infrequently, there are people who only identify hearing loss at university and discover that learning problems and even the attention deficit diagnosed in childhood were actually caused by hearing difficulties.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that approximately 32 million children worldwide have some type of hearing impairment, with 40% of cases occurring due to genetic problems and 31% due to infections such as measles, rubella and meningitis. In Brazil, according to data from the 2010 Census conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), one million of the 9.7 million people who have hearing loss are young people up to 19 years old. It is estimated that three out of every 1,000 children suffer some type of hearing loss.