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Can my son's hearing be restored?

Q: My 2 years old son is suffering from severe hearing loss. The doctor told us after some tests that his left ear is not responding at all and the right year is responding 99 DB. What is the right mode of treatment for my son?

A:From your short description, it appears that your son has a profound hearing loss. Your child needs a rehabilitation package. The team for this rehabilitation procedure will comprise your own family doctor, paediatrician, an ENT surgeon, the local community nurse (if a person is available in your country of residence), speech and language specialist, the teacher in the nearest special school for hearing impaired, the teacher of the nearest regular school, you, your wife and any and every willing family member and neighbors. A close co-ordination is necessary between all of you. You have to follow the following regimen of rehabilitation:

  1. First request your paediatrician to rule out any other disease condition, which might have caused the hearing loss. If he finds any thing like that, the priority is to treat that condition.
  2. Ask your paediatrician if a psychologist’s assessment is necessary. If he feels so, kindly do that without any further delay.
  3. Fit a hearing aid. Ensure that you and all your family members and relatives and neighbours talk with the child. Your child must be able to start talking meaningfully with it within three months. Your ENT surgeon and the audiologist who tested the hearing will be able to help you in this task. If the child starts responding well, your next target will be incrementally increase the gains and try to integrate this child in a regular school.
  4. If the child’s progress is not good enough in spite of a good effort, some newer technologies are available viz. digital hearing aids, cochlear implant etc. Regarding the cochlear implant, it has its own special advantages and disadvantages. A personal discussion with your paediatrician and the ENT surgeon (with a particular focus on the individual child, the willingness and financial position of the parents and distance of the implant facility from your normal place of residence) is warranted.

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