Today’s Dear Abby column addresses deaf infants and testing. I agree that the sooner you detect a child’s hearing loss, the better. My parents figured it out when I was about six months old based on their experience with my two older siblings. If I could rewind time, I’d make today’s implant available when I was a baby.
The complete column follows in case the link becomes invalid in the near future.
DEAR ABBY: A professional nanny in Ohio agonized over whether to tell the mother of twins in her care that one of them might be hearing-impaired. You advised her to notify the mother immediately, and that the children’s pediatrician should be told during their next scheduled visit.
I am a pediatrician and a trustee at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Massachusetts. Although I agree with your advice to speak to the infant’s mother, please let your readers know that there is some urgency involved. Infants should be screened at birth. If deaf infants receive hearing aids and appropriate therapy before 6 months of age, they have a good chance at normal speech and language development.
After 1 year of age, the chances for normal development begin to diminish. If any caregiver suspects hearing loss in an infant, that child’s hearing should be tested as soon as possible.
Concerned Pediatrician, Northampton, Mass.
DEAR CONCERNED: Thank you for your informative letter. I was not aware that the timing was critical. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of two hearing-impaired children. I have struggled to get our government representatives to understand the value of early detection and push to make it a law for all newborns to be tested. Hearing impairment can be detected while the child is still in the womb, and Crib-o-Grams can detect the impairment before the child leaves the hospital. – Been There, Done That in Michigan
DEAR B.T.D.T.: I’m sure many parents will be interested to know that prenatal testing can be done. Thank you.