A panel in the National Institutes of Health alleged that more than half of babies in America are not diagnosed with hearing handicaps for almost two years and this setback might cause the problem to become a lifetime burden. For the NIH committee it is best to test infants a few hours after they are born of hearing problems using a new technology. The news was very well accepted by the audiences which were healthcare workers who help children who are hearing impaired. A committee that was structured by the National Institute of Health mainly to come up with new medical practices for hearing impaired babies claims that about one in every 1,000 babies born in the US is deaf. There are about less than half of the cases which are seen earlier since there is a necessary need to screen infants that are more prone to this disability due to prior birth problems. To avoid dealing with permanent speech and language damages to the child doctors must run test on children before they are three years old declares the chairman of the committee and a professor at Loyola University in Chicago.
The existing age limit that a child should be tested for hearing loss is two and one half however the professor said they hope to lower this to about 6 months. Having advance technology and instruments in the market now makes hearing loss detection in new born an achievable activity. A new method of screening has also been recommended where a test in the hospital nursery shortly after birth using an instrument that detects what are called otoacoustic emissions.
The test involves the use of an earphone like device that makes a clicking sound and then detects an echo like response from the inner ear. With that, a computer is used to accurately detect and see if the inner ear is functioning correctly or not. A secondary test will be done called auditory brainstem responses to confirm if there is hearing loss once the infant fails this first test. In this type of test, there are sensors that are placed on the baby's head where the clicking sound will be made. There will be a brain wave patter that will form if the sound is heard normally.
In the two tests it will check different responses to sound. Parents will have to spend about $25 for the otoacoustic emission and the second one which is more complicated will cost about $75 to $125. It will take to US government about $150 million to $200 million just to get their new born tested but this is a lesser expense than the billion they would spend for more medication in the long run.
They say that a loss of $400,000 to $800,000 in lifetime earnings will be expected by a child whose hearing problems will not be detected when they reach 3 years old and above since by this age there will not be speech damage that is permanent. Studies have shown that high school graduates, whose hearing loss was not detected early on, usually have a fourth to seventh grade level reading skills. Having an early detection of hearing loss will really help children learn earlier how to behave and be with normal people and not have to go to a special deaf school. In early detection a country will not only help its citizens but also save money.
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