Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Be wary of signs of hearing loss, parents are told

WARNING SIGNS:Children who turn up the volume on the TV or only respond to their parents after they have had to repeat their words need to be examined

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Parents should prevent their children from watching television at an excessive volume to prevent damage to their hearing, a Taipei-based doctor said, adding that if parents find they often need to repeat themselves when talking to their children, hearing loss might have already occurred.

Wu Chen-Chi (吳振吉), attending physician at the Department of Otolaryngology at National Taiwan University Hospital, said conductive hearing loss can occur due to chronic middle ear infections, while sensorineural hearing loss could be caused by genetic factors.

He said statistics suggest that at least one in every 1,000 newborns in developed nations suffers from sensorineural hearing loss, while the prevalence rate increases to about 2.7 per 1,000 people in children under five years old.

About two-thirds of cases are caused by genetic factors, he added.

The Children Charity Association has donated NT$3 million (US$102,089) to National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital to establish a program to perform genetic testing for about 200 children with hereditary hearing loss to identify the cause, find appropriate treatment methods and reduce the risk of a second child being born with hearing loss.

The results could be used to evaluate whether the condition might worsen, remain or relapse, and would help provide better treatment for children suffering hearing loss, Wu said.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare began funding a Newborn Hearing Screening Program for infants under three months in 2012 and more than 3,500 infants with hearing loss have been identified via the program.

Children who fail the examination are retested after three months and then receive treatment within six months if they are diagnosed with hearing loss, Wu said.

Parents should be wary if their children always turn up the volume on the television or only respond to them after they have had to repeat their words, because they might be suffering hearing loss and should be taken to a doctor for examination, Wu said.

Delayed treatment can affect speech and language development, communication and learning, Wu added.

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