‘Check ears from birth’

HEARING checks can be done from birth and parents do not need to wait for their children to be older, says audiologist and consultant at Frank Hilton Organization, Dr Donna Carkeet.

Dr Carkeet said parents should have their children checked if they were not developing their speech and language like other children.

She said vaccination was important to prevent children from getting mumps that could cause hearing loss.

“Get your children vaccinated for mumps, measles and rubella. See a doctor as soon as your child has ear pain, discharge or is pulling at their ears,” Dr Carkeet said.

“Ear infections can become serious health issues and cause permanent problems if not treated on time. Always seek medical help when your child has ear pain or discharge.

“If your child’s speech and language is delayed compared to other children, get a hearing assessment.”

She said many children had temporary hearing loss because of ear infections or wax blockages.

“We see children with permanent losses. These can be caused by diseases such as mumps, rubella, meningitis,” she said.

“We also see children who suffered during the pregnancy or birth or have a family history of hearing loss.”

She mentioned that for some children, the reason for hearing loss was not known but the important thing was to find it early and provide them with rehabilitation so they could learn speech and language.

“Speech is learnt by hearing it, so when a child cannot hear they cannot communicate effectively, learn effectively and they fall behind,” she said.

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