The Hamad Medical Corporation in co-operation with the Supreme Education Council is developing a programme that will provide training and skills to teachers to teach hearing impaired and the hearing-able children side-by-side.
“We are excited about this development as it will give the children we treat the support and integration they need to develop their potential in future life,” HMC’s Audiology and Balance unit Dr Khalid Abdul Hadi said.
The official also said the unit is planning to raise awareness of the importance of giving equal rights to children with hearing disabilities during the International Week of the Deaf.
He said giving equal right to them provides an effective and everyday learning environment.
The International Week of the Deaf is observed annually by deaf people worldwide during the last week of September and the theme for this year is ‘Equality for Deaf People.’
“Integration, not segregation, is key to a child’s development,” he said while also noting the importance of early detection of hearing loss and effective treatment, including the use of specialised medical devices.
“Where it is possible, it is important to allow children, who have hearing aids or cochlear implants, to learn and play in an everyday environment surrounded by children who do not have hearing issues. Research demonstrates that hearing impaired children learn more effectively and develop language and social skills to a much higher standard than those who are segregated,” Dr Hadi said.
He said that HMC has a very effective early screening, treatment and prevention programme, which allows for the early detection of hearing loss.
This programme screens children at birth; before they are discharged, again at two to three months and then again prior to starting school.
All children are assessed and treated according to their individual needs.
A common device provided to children with hearing issues is a hearing aid which is externally fitted to the ear to enable hearing improvement to various degrees.
Another device is one which can be implanted internally to help children with profound deafness to hear again.
“This comprehensive process enables specialists, where possible, to begin treatment earlier, greatly benefiting a child’s formative years,” he said adding that treatment available at HMC is advanced and up-to-date with leading technologies.
“At HMC, we are fully equipped with the latest technologies to give our young patients and adults the best treatment. Our new laboratory allows us to completely tailor hearing aids to the individual which allows them to get the most out of their device. Similarly, our cochlear implant programme, which began in 2005, is changing the lives of people who previously would have been segregated in society,” Dr Hadi said.
He said the key to effective treatment is early detection.
Along with his colleagues at HMC, Dr Hadi raises awareness of early detection throughout the year by organising public events in malls, hospitals and schools.
He recommended that anyone concerned that a family member’s hearing is impaired, should make an appointment with a primary care physician or general practitioner to be assessed for referral to the Audiology Department at HMC.
“Treatment can change lives and administering treatment as early as possible means a better chance of preventing a worsening of symptoms,” Dr Hadi stressed.
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