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Otic Monthly Health Station (Mar, 2016)

13.3

What does the above picture mean to you? Book chapter and section? Grade-point-average? Or Emoji? This digit pair is actually the symbol of the International Ear Care Day as the shape of ‘3’ resembles our pinna. The International Ear Care Day (3 March annually) was designated in 2007 at the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment which aims to enhance public awareness of hearing health worldwide. The International Ear Care Day has a different theme each year, the theme for 2016 is ‘Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how!’ aiming to draw your attention to childhood hearing loss which can be prevented most of the time through public health measures.

Prevalence of Childhood Hearing Loss
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The incidence of hearing loss in children is much higher than in adults. Approximately 720,000 children have bilateral permanent congenital or early-onset hearing loss annually (Tucci, Merson, & Wilson, 2010). If mild and/or unilateral hearing losses are included, the prevalence rate would be even higher, with 10 to 15 per 1000 school children with mild hearing impairment in both ears and 30 to 56 per 1000 with unilateral (single side) hearing loss (Ross, Gaffney, Green, & Holstrum, 2008). Prevalence of hearing loss continues to increase throughout childhood because some congenital hearing loss has its onset at later childhood and there is a higher risk of middle ear infection in young children (Bamford et al., 2007; Task Force on Newborn and Infant Hearing, 1999). Research has demonstrated that 15% to 25% of children aged 0 to 6 years have otitis media, which peaks at 1 year of age and at school entry (Midgley, Dewey, Pryce, & Maw, 2000; Zielhuis, Straatman, Rach, & van den Broek, 1990).

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Childhood hearing loss caused a greater reduction in Quality-adjusted Life Year (QALY) than adults with same degree of hearing impairment (Olusanya & Newton, 2007). Since spoken language is the predominate form of communication, delay in speech and language acquisition as consequences of hearing loss substantially hinder cognitive and psychosocial development, and subsequently impact on school performance and future vocational opportunities (Cho Lieu, 2004; Downs, 2004; Olusanya, 2007; Olusanya & Newton, 2007). Ross et al. (2008) indicated 22 to 40% students with single-sided hearing loss repeated a grade. Even mild or unilateral loss would have significant impact on academic attainment due to poor sound localization and difficulty in speech in noise. These adverse effects bound with hearing impaired children are avoidable through prevention, early detection and intervention (Alberti, 1996; Carney & Moeller, 1998; WHO, 2010).

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If your child shows the following symptoms (Child Assessment Service, 2009), you should be alerted and are recommended to bring him / her to doctor and/or hearing assessment:

 

During infancy:Baby Sitting

  • 1-3 months old – No response to sudden sound such as banging of door or ringing of doorbell
  • 4-6 months old – Unable to locate the sound source.
  • 7-9 months old – Do not look at the person being mentioned, e.g. “Where is Uncle Tom?”.
  • 10-12 months old – No response to their names being called or frequently used words or phrases, e.g.,”No”.

During childhood:
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    • Delayed response to sound
    • Cannot hear clearly what others are saying and always ask for repetition during conversation
    • Give irrelevant answers or misinterpret instructions
    • Show difficulty in locating the sound source
    • Pay more than usual attention to speakers’ facial expression and lip movement while listening
    • Show poorer ability to understand speech in a noisy environment
    • Tend to turn up the sound volume of television
    • Incorrect pronunciation
    • Delayed language development
    • Poor attention in class
    • Frequent use of gestures to express themselves, e.g. pointing to what they want

    Easily irritated as a result of communication difficulty

 

 

Reference:
Alberti, P. W. (1996). The prevention of hearing loss worldwide. Scandinavian Audiology, Supplementum, 42, 15 – 19.
Bamford, J., Fortnum, H., Bristow, K., Smith, J., Vamvakas, G., Davies, L., . . . Hind, S. (2007). Current practice, accuracy, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the school entry hearing screen. Health Technology Assessment,11, 1 – 188.
Carney, A., & Moeller, M. (1998). Treatment efficacy: Hearing loss in children. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 41(1), S61 – S64.
Child Assessment Service, Department of Health. (2009). Developmental disorders series – hearing impairment. Retrieved from https://www.dhcas.gov.hk/english/health_pro/develop_dis.html on 12 February 2016.
Cho Lieu, J. E. (2004). Speech-language and educational consequences of unilateral hearing loss in children. Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 130, 524 – 530.
Downs, M. P. (2004). Contribution of mild hearing loss to auditory learning problems. In R. J. Roeser & M. P. Downs (4th Ed). Auditory Disorders in School Children: the Law, Identification, Remediation. (pp. 233 – 248). New York: Thieme
Midgley, E. J., Dewey, C., Pryce, K., Maw, A. R. (2000). The frequency of otitis media with effusion in British pre-school children: a guide for treatment. Clinical Otolaryngology, 25, 485 – 491.
Olusanya ,B. O. (2007). Addressing the Global Neglect of Childhood Hearing Impairment in Developing Countries. PLoS Med 4(4), e74. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040074
Olusanya, B. O., & Newton, V. E. (2007) Global burden of childhood hearing impairment and disease control priorities for developing countries. Lancet, 369, 1314 – 1317. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60602-3.
Ross, D. S., Gaffney, M., Green, D., Holstrum, W. J. (2008). Prevalence and effects. Seminars in Hearing, 29(2), 141 – 148.
Task Force on Newborn and Infant Hearing. (1999). Newborn and infant hearing loss: Detection and intervention. Pediatrics, 103, 527–530.
Tucci, D. L., Merson, M. H., & Wilson, B. (2010) A Summary of the Literature on Global Hearing Impairment: Current Status and Priorities for Action. Otology & Neurotology, 31(1), 31 – 41.
World Health Organization. (2005). Deafness and hearing impairment. Fact sheet N°300. Media Center. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/index.html#  on 8 October, 2011.
Zielhuis, G. A., Straatman, H., Rach, G. H., van den Broek, P. (1990) Analysis and presentation of data on the natural course of otitis media with effusion in children. International Journal of Epidemiology, 19, 1037– 1044.

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