Unlocking the planet of Sound for Deaf Children

Jane R. Madell, a pediatric audiology consultant in addition to speech-language pathologist in Brooklyn, N.Y., wants every parent that has a child who is usually born hearing-impaired to know that will This kind of is usually at This kind of point possible for nearly all children with severe hearing loss to learn to listen in addition to speak as if their hearing were completely normal.

“Children identified with hearing loss at birth in addition to fitted with technology inside the first weeks of life blend in so well with everyone else that will people don’t realize there are so many deaf children,” she told me.

With the appropriate hearing device in addition to auditory training for children in addition to their caregivers during the preschool years, even those born deaf “will contain the ability to learn with their peers when they start school,” Dr. Madell said. “Eighty-5 percent of such children are successfully mainstreamed. Parents need to know that will listening in addition to spoken language is usually a possibility for their children.”

Determined to get This kind of message out to all who learn their children lack normal hearing, Dr. Madell in addition to Irene Taylor Brodsky produced a documentary, “The Listening Project,” to demonstrate the enormous help available through modern hearing assists in addition to auditory training.

Among the “stars” inside the film, all of whom grew up deaf or severely hearing-impaired, are Dr. Elizabeth Bonagura, an obstetrician-gynecologist in addition to surgeon; Jake Spinowitz, a musician; Joanna Lippert, a medical social worker, in addition to Amy Pollick, a psychologist. All commenced out with hearing aids that will helped them learn to speak in addition to understand spoken language.

although at This kind of point all have cochlear implants that will, as Ms. Lippert put This kind of, “genuinely revolutionized my world” when, at age 11, she became the first preteen to get a cochlear implant at brand new York University Medical Center.

“Suddenly when I was playing soccer, I could hear what my teammates were saying,” Ms. Lippert, at This kind of point 33, recalled. “My mother practically cried when I heard a cricket chirping inside the house. I couldn’t talk on the phone before. at This kind of point in my job at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Manhattan, I’m on the phone all day long. The implant has been a wonderful gift.”

Ms. Pollick, 43 in addition to deaf since birth, lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband in addition to two young children, all with normal hearing. Her deaf parents, determined that will she learn to speak, got her a hearing aid at 6 months along with years of auditory therapy. A graduate of brand new York’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School in addition to Wesleyan University, Ms. Pollick was in graduate school researching primate vocalizations when she got a cochlear implant.

She told me, “The earlier you get the implant, the more successful This kind of is usually because the more auditory input the brain gets at an early age, the better the auditory skills you will develop.”

Dr. Bonagura, 34, who lives in Alameda, Calif., didn’t get a cochlear implant until she was 22. She said This kind of made medical school a lot easier in addition to enabled her to work in obstetrics, a field that will involves emergencies, loud operating rooms in addition to the use of face masks that will make lip reading impossible.

“No some other field of medicine compares to the joy of delivering babies,” she said.

Mr. Spinowitz, a 27-year-old guitarist living in San Francisco, was born with profound hearing loss in addition to used hearing aids until age 15 when suddenly they no longer worked because there was nothing to amplify — he had lost all residual hearing.

Once he got his implant, he said, “I began listening to music — all kinds of music — trying to make up for lost time.” He played in bands throughout high school in addition to college in addition to at This kind of point works at YouTube helping music labels get their work represented.

“The implant made This kind of easier to communicate in all kinds of situations. This kind of made college in addition to my job possible,” Mr. Spinowitz said. His message to the parents of children with profound hearing loss: “Sound makes the planet a better place, so if you can have This kind of, go for This kind of.”

A cochlear implant bypasses the nonfunctioning hair cells of the auditory system in addition to transmits sound directly to the auditory nerve to ensure that will the brain can process This kind of. Implants can be inserted in babies before they can walk. According to the National Institute on Deafness in addition to some other Communication Disorders, children with profound hearing loss who receive implants before 18 months of age “develop language skills at a rate comparable to children with normal hearing.”

As Dr. Bonagura says inside the documentary, “The ability at This kind of point to put implants in babies is usually incredible. They grow up with sound; they grow up hearing everything. Sound is usually a gift — laughter, voices, nature. How can you take that will away coming from anyone?”

Still, many deaf people resist the current technology in addition to insist that will children with profound hearing loss should learn only sign language. They reject the idea that will deafness needs to be corrected.

although, as Dr. Madell points out, only 0.1 percent of the population knows sign language, in addition to 95 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who then have to spend a long time learning to sign, during a period when children are normally learning to speak.

“Deafness today is usually not what This kind of was 20 years ago,” she said. “Technology is usually so much better that will virtually every child with hearing loss will be able to hear with the right devices — hearing aids in addition to cochlear implants.”

Every baby born inside the United States is usually supposed to be screened at birth for hearing loss. One baby in 1,000 of those screened will turn out to have moderate, severe or profound hearing loss that will, if not promptly in addition to properly treated, can delay their ability to learn to speak in addition to understand speech.

Today’s auditory technology makes This kind of possible for these babies to be fitted that has a device that will enables them to hear in addition to, with auditory training, develop language skills as Great as those of their normal-hearing peers.

Without newborn screening, critical months for learning spoken language can be lost. Children with serious hearing loss who are not screened at birth or soon thereafter often do not get their hearing checked until many months later when parents realize that will they don’t respond appropriately to sounds in addition to speech, or even later when they don’t start to speak at the usual milestones.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has established what are known as 1-3-6 guidelines that will state that will every baby should be screened for hearing by 1 month of age, a diagnosis of hearing loss made by 3 months in addition to entry into early intervention services by 6 months. Yet currently only 67 percent of babies with profound hearing loss receive appropriate intervention by 6 months of age.