Little Aarav was two years old when everyone around him noticed something was wrong. He was slow in speaking, and whatever was spoken did not get through him. He still communicated in his gibberish. This was complete with tantrums that never seemed to make sense, even for a child. A detail that never occurred to his parents was that Aarav might be experiencing hearing impairment. His father was born deaf-mute, and it did not help that they were from a lower-middle-class background. Looking for a hearing aid center in Mumbai was simply not a solution that crossed their minds.
This is not an isolated incident. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that South Asia sees the highest number of hearing loss in the world. As of 2018, WHO put out a survey saying how sixty-three million Indians experienced an auditory impairment. For children in the age bracket of 0-14, childhood-onset deafness stood at 2%. This is bound to have increased in 2021.
Once it is known that the child has a hearing impairment, they are cast off in Indian society. The lack of awareness runs so deep that children are dissuaded from pursuing rehabilitation and further opportunities. Hearing loss continues to drain people physically and economically. But in reality, there are various hearing aid centers in Mumbai, and big cities are designed to help people adapt.
KNOWING WHAT IS WRONG
It is important to educate folks about the signs of early-onset hearing loss. It requires awareness programs at the grassroots level coming from an administrative jurisdiction. People, especially hard-of-hearing children, need to understand that they are not a burden.
There are some symptoms most commonly spotted amongst kids going through hearing loss.
- The child cannot comprehend what others are saying
- Noticeably different from other kids in speaking skills. Either the child communicates in self-made gibberish or responds incorrectly. There could be various factors contributing to it, but it should not be left unchecked.
- Do not respond when talked to. The child not responding when called by his/her name is almost always a sign of hearing loss.
- Has to increase the volume of the TV or any other equipment very high to hear. Often sits close to the TV to hear.
- Keeps switching phone ear to ear to hear well.
- Difficulty in academics.
- Experiences ear pain or noise.
- Difficulty in explaining things
- Has to repeat what is being spoken multiple times to the child.
- Imitates everyone else or watches lips closely. Some kids get good at this and hence appear seemingly normal.
HOW TO SEEK HELP
There are hearing aid centers in Mumbai with veteran audiologists who have years of experience. Renowned medical organizations with dedicated consultants spend years treating big and small hearing problems in the young and elderly. What makes these establishments valuable is the time and effort they spent in procuring modern technology that could make lives better.
But the general public is still in the dark about hearing aids and their functionality.
In The Ear (Ite) Hearing Aids
As the name suggests, these are kept in the ear and can have manually adjustable program buttons. The ear is measured to find the right type of fitting. There are options within the ITE hearing aids.
Invisible in the canal (IIC)
This type of hearing aid is placed deep in the ear canal. This device is small and blends with the rest of the body. Owing to its small size, it does not have any program buttons. It is also easily damageable since it is constantly exposed to ear wax and moisture.
Completely in the canal (CIC)
A device good for its camouflage; this is placed inside the ear canal. Because of its small size, it does not have any controls. But it is popular amongst patients with not very severe cases of hearing loss.
In the Canal (ITC)
It fits into the lower bowl of the outer ear, and it is bigger. It is for people with severe hearing loss and comes with adjustable controls.
Behind The Ear Hearing Aids
It is attached to a narrow tube that transmits sound to the ear canal and is placed behind or on top of the outer ear. They need to be measured to avoid obstructing the path of the ear canal.
It is recommended for people with a smaller scale of hearing loss.
Receiver in the canal (RIC)
The device is built differently with a separate microphone and processor. In case of damage, it can also be easily repaired.
BTE with earmold
A hearing aid that can adapt to any condition which also withstands moisture and earwax.