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Early detection of hearing loss in children is key, says expert

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A leading doctor has argued that detection of hearing loss in children has to be diagnosed as soon as possible.

Speaking at the 10th Middle East Update in Otolaryngology Conference and Exhibition (ME-OTO 2013), Dr Ghada reinforced the importance of the early developmental stages that young children go through.

“Early support is vital. There is special plasticity in the brain of a very young child which makes rapid progress possible between the ages of zero and five. The same rate of progress is unlikely to be matched later on. For children who are deaf, and their parents, the journey to listening and speaking is literally a race against time,” he stated.

It is important to detect hearing loss in a baby before he/she is six months old. When it comes to older toddlers and young children, they are the greatest risk when it comes to losing their hearing, and so it is advised that they should be screened at least every six months until they turn three years old. If it is necessary after this age, the screenings should then continue regularly. These treatment procedures include otoacoustic emissions and auditory brainstem responses. Major improvements in hearing aids have enabled children in recent years to hear after being born deaf, because of the condition being recognised early on.

Dr Ghada went on to argue that parents must be educated primarily, especially whether there is a gap between a child’s age and their language capabilities.

The ME-OTO 2013, which will be running this week (April 22nd-23rd), attracts over 700 professionals from all over the world, especially in the Middle East. This region particularly offers limited medical supplies for children who suffer profoundly with hearing loss. This includes countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

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