In many countries children with hearing loss are not accepted in schools or kept at home by their parents, dismissed as unteachable and destined to remain illiterate.
This has many debilitating social and psychological consequences, but perhaps the most profound impact is missing out on education, not learning to read and write which blights the rest of their lives.
We believe if we can identify Hearing Impaired at this formative stage and increase literacy levels close to hearing classmates, change life for ever.
In many richer countries, even though there is newborn screening that identifies almost half of permanent hearing loss, there is no other mandatory screening, not even in primary school.
As well as undiagnosed permanent hearing loss, 15%-20% of primary school children suffer from temporary hearing loss every year. If untreated, 50% of goes away in 3 months and 75% after 6 months. In these formative years, the impact of not hearing for 3-6 months or longer, can be profound on the child’s development and personality.
The impacts include lower IQ up to the age of 13, more hyperactive and inattentive behaviour up to 15, and reduced reading ability up to 18.
Identifying hearing loss at the earliest possible stage is critical for maximising the development of speech and language, and enhancing educational achievement and quality of life.