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May 3, 2003

Hearing loss 'can be cured'

From: Gulf Daily News, Bahrain -May 3, 2003


EARLY detection and treatment of hearing and speech disorders are essential, says a Bahrain-based expert.

Hearing problems can be detected extremely early, says Delmon Audiological and Speech Therapy Centre senior audiologist-cum-speech pathologist S Jino.

Treatment is effective if the problem is detected within three days after birth and treatment is started before the child is six-months-old, he told the GDN.

The first step of a successful therapy is for parents to accept the problem and start rehabilitation.

"I have seen many parents who are not accepting the problem, going here and there, and wasting their valuable time," said Mr Jino.

"They should realise that early intervention and treatment is the key to success."

A new audiological and speech therapy centre is to be opened on Budaiya Highway by the middle of this month to deal with the problem.

It will be linked to the company's premises on Exhibition Road. The new centre will be equipped with facilities to screen new-born children for hearing loss and related problems.

"Buying a hearing aid is only part of the rehabilitation process," continued Mr Jino.

"Once fitted with a hearing aid, the next step is auditory training and speech and language therapy."

In cases of congenital hearing loss, the parents are the key to their child's speech development, said Mr Jino.

"Parents should schedule their timing for training the child at home, and if the child attends the school, the teacher has to be informed about the hearing aid," he added.

There are four types of speech disorder - fluency disorder like stuttering or speaking at a fast rate, voice disorder like male having female voice or misarticulation, and language disorder.

One of the most common causes of speech disorder is hearing loss, said Mr Jino.

An audiologist or ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat) specialist can detect hearing loss by using an audiometer.

Hearing loss is characterised by not responding to sound, being inattentive to others and being less interactive with others.

Among adults, the second main cause for hearing loss, after the ageing process, is excessive noise.

Mr Jino, who has taken his audiology and speech pathology degree from Mangalore University in India, worked as a lecturer in a medical college in Kerala, before arriving in Bahrain.

Mr Jino's wife Smitha is also audiologist and speech pathologist.

Copyright © 2002, Gulf Daily News