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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 10/02/2013

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Hearing tests for newborn babies will help parents access appropriate treatments for their babies as quickly as possible. Hearing screening will detect possible hearing impairment, and help specialists offer the best possible treatments at early stages. We at KIMS Oman Hospital offer the best hearing screening for newborns and the grownup.

Often parents ignore these tests, and by the time they realize the disorder, it might be too late,'' says Reshmi Lourds Mathew, Audiologist at KIMS Oman Hospital. Newborn babies respond best to high-pitched, exaggerated sounds and voices which they learn it in the womb. Indeed, newborns are born with the ability to distinguish their mother's voice and respond to it above all others.

To find hearing loss as early as possible is necessary and important, because babies start learning how to use sound as soon as they are born. Technically, listening in the first months of life prepares babies to speak,'' KIMS audiologist said. Babies are already learning what words mean by the age of one year. Babies start by babbling, using many of the sounds they hear spoken around them and gradually it builds their communication.

Babies learn to talk as they listen to their families. If a baby has hearing loss, and if it is not been identified by parents, it will lead to slow development of speech and language. These delays can lead to problems in school later on. Finding hearing loss early can help prevent delays in speaking and learning,'' Reshmi said.

Hospitals regularly screen newborn babies for a number of conditions, such as genetic disorders. It is interesting to know that hearing loss happens more often than any other problems or conditions that are screened at birth. Two different types of hearing screening tests are used to screen hearing in babies. They are Otoacoustic Emissions and Auditory Brainstem Response. The two tests can be used separately or together.

Both tests are reliable, noninvasive, automated, safe, comfortable, and do not require any observable response from the infant. Choosing of tests depends on the screening programme's choice of instrumentation and training. When a baby fails the newborn hearing screening, it does not necessarily mean that he or she has a hearing loss.

The babies who need follow-up testing may have normal hearing. Most hospital screening programmes will refer infants who failed the initial screening test to a secondary centre that specialises


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