Signs of hearing loss…image Courtesy https://www.hearingaid.org.uk/blog/
Let’s talk about ‘Sign languages rights for all”. After all, this is the theme for this years the international day for the deaf. This is what to do if your child has hearing loss
When a mother finally holds her bundle of joy in her hands, her prayer is always that the child is healthy. It is what Joy Mimo, a mother of an 8-year-old boy expected when that day came to finally hold and nourish her own child.
But she began to notice something was a miss.
“When I gave birth to Steve, I didn’t know he was deaf until 3 months when I realized that he wasn’t able to hear the sounds around him including my own voice”, narrates Mimo.
“Out of ignorance I didn’t take him immediately to the hospital because I thought maybe since he was still an infant, it was just a growing stage,” continues Mimo.
“But at 4 months, I realized how serious it was because he couldn’t respond to loud noise. Not even the noisy toys. That is when I took him to ear, nose and throat (ENT) department at Moi teaching and referral hospital. That is when the doctor pronounced that my baby was deaf”, narrates Mimo.
According to Dr.Musa Oyugi, an Otolaryngologist in Moi teaching and referral hospital, there are so many things that may lead to deafness and hearing loss in children.
“Factors that may lead to hearing loss whether congenital or acquired include Infections like measles; mumps or whooping cough can lead to hearing loss if not treated well”, says Dr.Musa
Other things include serious head injury, noisy environment, drugs and substance abuse during pregnancy, birth complications, and infection during pregnancy among others,” explains Dr.Musa.
How do you know that a child has a hearing loss?
“Children should startle at loud sounds, they should respond and sometimes smile to your voice, should notice toys that make noise and sometimes repeat to simple sounds”, Explains Dr.Musa
“If a child does not respond to these sounds from 4 months old, then there is a need to seek medical attention,” adds Dr.Musa.
“In older children, signs can be like not responding when called, has difficulty in understanding what people say, complains of ear pains or noises, watches the speaker intently to just read the lips among others”, explains Dr.Musa.
Depending on the causes, there are ways we can help these children live a normal life with others. Dr.Musa explains.
“Children can be given hearing aids. These are devices that can help children, clearly hear again. We also have cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted devices placed in the inner ear”, explains Dr.Musa.
“We can also enrol children whose hearing loss has affected their speech to speech therapy, for better communication. Let us also reduce factors that may contribute to hearing losses”, adds Dr.Musa.
“Let us also learn sign language for easier and better communication, just like this year’s theme suggests, ‘Sign languages rights for all’, concludes Dr.Musa.