Early Detection of Hearing Loss or Deafness

Last Sunday, I met one of my favorite deaf students after interpreting in a worship service. His name is Marlon. He’s still the smart, short, boyish looking and always smiling boy I have been fond of since I became his teacher almost a decade ago. We had a little chit chat while having lunch with other deaf friends. He told me that he is now a regular employee in a medicine factory in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Meeting him brought back memories on how we stayed for almost a week in his hometown in the island of Marinduque and had a talk with his mother. She said that although she is already a registered nurse, she never thought that Marlon was deaf until he was six years old. He was misdiagnosed as autistic. It was too late when they found out that the findings were wrong because he started schooling at age eight.

This brings to my entry,

How do we know if our child is deaf or not?

Hearing loss is often misdiagnosed. It can be equated with cerebral palsy, autism or even having ADHD. However, there are a large number of children who suffer only from a mild or moderate hearing loss and not as severe as those. They are at a great disadvantage because it is difficult to identify their impairment. It even has an adverse effect on language development and consequently, on educational skills. Children with such hearing loss are able to hear the loud vowel sounds but will have difficulty in discriminating soft consonants like ‘s’, ‘k’, ‘th’, ‘p’, ‘b’ and ‘d’. This often misjudged children and becomes difficult for the parents and teachers to understand the child.

A child with possible mild or moderate hearing impairment often demonstrates the following behavior:

  • – needs to have instructions repeated;
  • – always misunderstands instructions;
  • – has difficulty with spelling;
  • – has language problems;
  • – has difficulty with spelling due to problems discriminating sounds; and
  • – shows inattentiveness, listlessness, withdrawn, aggressive and badly behaved.

On my next entries, I will feature the expected responses of a child and basic guide for parents and teachers to recognize a child with a hearing impairment. 🙂

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