Hearing Impairment is a hidden disability which is usually detected by parents only after 2 years of age. Since it is not an external disability the symptoms are not easily identified earlier. Late detection causes irreversible stunting of language development potential of the child.
It is best if hearing impairments can be identified when infants are less than six months old, regardless of the degree of hearing impairment. Early identification and intervention can prevent severe psycho-social, educational, and linguistic repercussions.
Hearing Impairment can be diagnosed at any age in the child’s growth. A hearing screening can be done for children right from the day of birth. SAHI uses the Oto Acoustic Emission (OAE) device to screen the neonates. This device is used successfully because it is a very sensitive, non-invasive, cost and time effective procedure.
HOW IT WORKS
A trained audiologist carries out the test in a quiet room. A small soft tipped ear piece is placed gently in the outer part of the baby’s ear. When the ear receives a sound,the inner part, known as Cochlea produces an echo. Using the OAE machine, the audiologist can see how the baby’s ears respond to the sound. Each ear is tested in turn. The test takes about 5-10 minutes and has a sensitivity of more than 90%.
If the baby does not pass the test, BERA (Brainstem Evoked Response Audiometry) and ASSR (Auditory Steady State Response) are done for further reference. These are longer and advanced tests that accurately give information about the baby’shearing. Treatment is determined based on these results.