As a child grows up, his/her parents must track “normal speech and language milestones.” They should also get a hearing test done for every newborn. If the child doesn’t attain adequate speech and language capabilities in time or fails during the initial hearing screening, he or she could be suffering from a rare disorder known as auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD).
Auditory dyssynchrony, also known as auditory neuropathy, is a condition where transmission of sound impulses including speech sounds is not in proportion or synchronous from the inner ear to the brain thus leading to interrupted sound signals leading to understanding problems in the individual. It generally occurs in three to four of every 10,000 children.
In the case of 10-year-old Deepali (name changed) the disorder went undetected until her parents went to Aster Hospital’s audiology department to get a clearance. The parents needed the clearance from a hospital in order to get the child admitted into a school as the child also has cerebral palsy and was undergoing treatment for the same.
Explaining the case, Audiologist at Aster Hospital Mankhool, Mr. Vikas, who was handling the case, told Khaleej Times: “The child required multiple repetitions to understand the speech, and she would lip read to understand what is being said to her. She is unable to express her feelings completely and cannot communicate with others properly.
“Deepali could convey her message with one or two words or gestures which only her parents can understand (that too is limited since she is quadriplegic with cerebral palsy too). Moreover, she faces much more difficulty in understanding if the speaker is not in front of her or is standing far away.”
For the past 10 years, the child was being treated for other abnormalities and no hearing test was ever conducted. This led to a speech delay which was considered as the result of cerebral palsy. “The best way to improve her condition is to focus on giving specialized speech and language therapy or opt for cochlear implant surgical option.
“Using assistive listening devices like FM systems can also help since this system works on radio frequency thus eliminating background noise.
Although the process is long and cannot be completely cured, speech and language can be made adequate with rigorous training, he added.
“If your child doesn’t attain adequate speech and language capabilities in time or fails during an initial hearing screening, a complete audiological test battery should be conducted to detect the need for therapies.
As per the Joint Committee of Infant Hearing and the WHO, it is recommended that every newborn child is tested for auditory capacity.
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