Hearing awareness in Kids | All about hearing loss in kids!
The life of a blogger is indeed challenging, yet rewarding. And, I was really happy to opt for an activity wherein I was to meet an amazingly admirable child who was detected with complete “sensorineural hearing loss” in both her ears, when she was barely few months old.
Every parent gets his/her child tested for long farsightedness but it’s very rare that parents get their children tested for hearing loss in the early months of their lives. Hearing loss is often not taken seriously or rather not understood clearly in India, despite the fact that every year, crores of Indian children are born with hearing loss or are detected with a certain level of hearing loss. Unless right action to raise hearing loss awareness is taken, up to 630 million cases of hearing loss are expected to come up around the world by 2030.
Sensorineural hearing loss, refers to the damage in cochlea or the inner ear and there are many children who face hearing issues. When a parent gets to know of these facts, they feel devastated with outbursts of emotions, which is well understood. But, what one needs to realize is that with the correct treatment, most of the kids with hearing loss can very easily hear again and grow up without any Linguistic, speech or social developmental issues.
What matters here is a “Quick and early decision”. Early medical intervention is the best way to help your child grow normally. With many researches around, it has been proved that children who get amplification before a year of their birth can develop language skills that are at par with their hearing peers.
So, let’s meet Anushka Nandini, a Bilateral Cochlear implant receiver from the age of 1 year! #HearingMatters
Anushka is a real champion in life and the way she has progressed cannot really be described with all emotions here. We crib for small happenings in our lives but what about this 8-year-old girl, who was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss (in both ears)? She has brought her skills out in a commendable way.
Let’s begin our journey to know more about Anushka, how her parents reacted in the situations, what are her aspirations and more.
Knowing of Anushka’s hearing loss:
The ever smiling munchkin, was touching all the baby milestones as per the recommended ages. It was the age when she should have been responding to rattles and her family observed that sometimes, in spite of the rattle being played in front of her eyes, she used to look in different directions rather than towards the rattle. Basically the eyes and ears were not functioning in synchronization. But it did not raise much suspicion and was ignored for a while.
One day, she was crawling, along with her cousin brother, both of whom were of 7-months-old. There was a loud thump, as a steel glass fell from her mama’s hand. While everyone looked behind to see what had been crashed, she did not turn and react. To her, it was all calm.
This was the turning point, when Anushka’s mom and dad thought of a hearing checkup.
It was difficult, rather painful, for the parents to know that there was some issue with her hearing. Their hearts were not ready to accept anything, while their brains were processing in a different direction. They left no stone unturned and visited the best hospitals in Delhi, be it AIIMS or Apollo, with multiple visits. They had to accept the fact that their daughter was suffering from complete hearing loss, in both ears.
Experienced doctors guided them to go for the Cochlear Implant surgery. Mama’s heart was indeed pained. She was not even one year by then, she was still a small baby. As a couple, they did tremendous research by reading papers online, reaching out to discussions with friends, knowing the story of more such children with hearing loss. With all the facts in their hands, they had to be strong. They didn’t want to waste a single day in the life of their princess. They were adamant that her hearing loss should never cripple her overall development.
And so, with a strong will power, they took the decision of getting a Bilateral Cochlear Implant (Implant in both the ears) from cochlear, a global leader, on her 1st Birthday at Apollo Hospital, Delhi!
To me, this could have been the best gift for Anushka, which made her a super confident girl, what she is today, what I felt after meeting her.
Journey after Surgery:
Things were not easy. Her parents and more so, her mama, had to be strong as a rock and help her achieve every milestone. For the next 2 years she regularly took Anushka for the Auditory-Verbal Therapy.
It is a specialized therapy designed to help children understand speech and learn to talk and communicate. It promotes natural conversation and helps kids to listen and process that language and then speak up or respond. It envisages a clear speech and it was tremendously beneficial in Anushka’s case. It sort of never delayed her to have a clear speech. This implant and therapy were turning out to be a God sent gift for Mr. Alok and Ms. Shweta, parents of Anushka.
Benefits they feel:
It has been 7 years that Anushka has had an implant. She is in one of Delhi’s best schools, Delhi Public school, doing wonders in her studies and extracurricular activities.
She has come out as a winner in almost all the “spellathon’s” and loves her drawing to such an extent that she makes some amazing Rangoli designs as well. Her certificates speak of the proud parents and the child. She loves listening to music, and dances with perfection. None of her interests have been hampered, as she loves playing sports, listens to music, watches movies, talks on phone and all the things a child loves.
When I visited her, she was tying up her skates and was ready to roll. For now, she wishes to be a “SKATING CHAMPION”. Her dedication and amazing will power, with the help of her parents has made her a fore runner in every activity she participates. And all this was due to their “Right Decision at the Right time”, the cochlear implant, which her parents give credit to.
Advice from Anushka’s parents:
1. Be apt and observant in the initial months when it comes to the sensory part of babies. In case of any doubt, don’t keep it to yourself, rather, visit the paediatrician and sort out the worries. A child’s best future can be only when the issues are detected on time and a medical action is taken as soon as possible.
2. Believe Doctors, science and not Myths: So many parents lose out the early precious time of their kids, just due to the numerous family interpretations and advice to opt for some homeopathy or other alternative medicinal practices. Many Indian people have deep faith in guru’s. We don’t ask you to lose that, but in such medical cases, it goes as a serious advice from her parents to approach and consult multiple doctors, research for yourself and take the decision without any delay. If a child is suffering from severe or 100% sensorineural hearing loss, the best thing is to get the implant. An outstanding Anushka’s, is a real life case, who has proved that if strong decisions are taken early in life, it can never hamper a child’s development, be it cognitive or emotional or even social.
3. Be strong and social: Limiting a child to four corners will lead to an inferiority complex. So, engage with the child, understand their psychology, allow them to be a part of social gatherings, it will generate a “sense of normalcy” in child and help boosting the confidence. The inferiority complex will never even touch your child.
4. Hearing loss should be made socially acceptable and there should be more awareness around it with parents actively talking about it.
5. Further, since this cochlear implant may not always be affordable for all families, government support is much needed for the weaker sections. An easy, quick, transparent and hassle free process is a must for the benefit of these kids, so that they get the right surgery at an early stage and do not suffer any developmental loss.
6. Also, often friends come forward to support in financial ways. This gift from friends, received on medical grounds for hearing impaired kids, should be granted as Tax free in IT Act.
7. New born hearing screening should be mandated for every infant after the birth. The medical laws need to be framed around them and the hearing screening should be made available and a must in every hospital in India. This will help parents save the child’s precious developmental months and take the right decision at the right time!
Hola mama’s and papa’s, I would love to know your views on this Inspirational child and the journey. Did you witness similar case and how was the journey for those parents and children?
Let’s be aware Parent!