Does your baby hear you? Stating that 2 to 3 out of every thousand babies are born with hearing loss in Türkiye, experts stated that early diagnosis is very important to prevent hearing loss in babies. Ear Nose and Throat Specialist Prof. Dr. Ozan Seymen Sezen, Istanbul Okan University Hospital gave information about hearing loss in babies.
What causes hearing loss in babies?
Prof. Dr. Ozan Seymen Sezen said, “Hearing is one of the most important sense organs that affect the whole life of individuals from birth. If hearing loss in newborns is not identified and treated in the early period, it harms the speech and language development of children. In our country, 2,500 newborns are born with hearing loss annually. Some infections of the mother during pregnancy, premature birth and low birth weight of the baby, staying in the intensive care unit or the baby using ototoxic drugs for the ear cause hearing loss.”
“Neonatal screening tests have great importance”
The ‘Newborn Hearing Test’ has a great importance in order to prevent hearing loss in newborn babies. Experts, who said that if hearing loss is not diagnosed and treated early, children fall behind in speech skills and language development, stated that hearing problems and screening tests in babies are very important. In order to understand whether babies have hearing problems, Prof. Dr. Sezen said, “If your baby does not startle at loud noises, does not cry or moves towards you when you call, if he has not made speech sounds yet, these symptoms are important for early diagnosis of hearing loss. However, for a definitive diagnosis, there is no other way to understand hearing loss other than hearing screening tests in newborns.”
What is the hearing process like in a newborn?
The newborn’s response to sound is a reflex event. Babies born with a sense of hearing react to sounds by blinking or startling. Depending on the intensity of the sounds, the rate of their response may also change. Babies exposed to high sound intensity, called the startle reflex, during the developmental period from birth to 2 years of age, make movements like jumping. These symptoms give a rough indication of the extent to which the sound is picked up by the baby. However, reflexes against sounds may not occur in newborns with hearing loss. Emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis in cases of congenital hearing loss, Prof. Dr. Sezen said, “First of all, the most important thing for families is to listen to your baby, if your baby has any doubts such as hearing loss, it is necessary to start the appropriate treatment method as soon as possible with early diagnosis. Otherwise, the baby’s speech ability cannot develop, he cannot communicate well, and it negatively affects his social skills.”