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Hearing Loss (Children)

What causes it

Recent studies indicate that up to 60% of unexplained cases of congenital sensorineural hearing loss are attributable to genetic mutations.

About the condition

Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital disorders. Timely detection and intervention of hearing loss are crucial for the optimal speech, learning, and social development.

The NUH Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, in collaboration with our department, is at the forefront of routine genetic testing for hearing loss in Singapore. This aids families in planning future pregnancies and anticipating the hearing loss in newborns. Additionally, our team has developed a questionnaire to assess stress factors associated with caring for children with hearing impairments, allowing for customised rehabilitation for each child and their family. Age-specific hearing assessments are conducted for older children.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Our dedicated team, including audiologists, auditory-verbal therapists and ENT surgeons, provides comprehensive services. At NUH, newborns as young as a few hours old undergo hearing screening using advanced tests, such as otoacoustic emission (OAE) and automated auditory brainstem response (AABR).

A wide array of hearing aids, including conventional, digital and bone conduction is available. For profound deafness, cochlear implant surgery is an option,  with auditory-verbal therapy post-implantation being a critical component of care.

Children presenting with normal hearing test results yet reporting difficulties may be experiencing disorders such central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), or auditory neuropathy, a condition characterised by hearing dys-synchronisation. Specialised tests are conducted to rule out these conditions, addressing misconceptions of misbehaviour, autism or dishonesty in these children.
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