Sidra audiology service transforms lives of hearing impaired children
April 11 2017 09:09 PM
Osman and his family with Sidra officials.
Osman and his family with Sidra officials.


Sidra Medical and Research Center (Sidra) has launched a new hearing aid programme to help hearing impaired children in Qatar. Referred paediatric patients with hearing problems will be directed to the audiology Clinic at Sidra.

The programme offers the identification, assessment and rehabilitation of hearing disorders in children; the utilisation of comprehensive behavioural and electrophysiological measures to determine type, degree and severity of hearing loss; the management of the selection, fitting, and dispensing of hearing devices; audiologic rehabilitation through a comprehensive programme of assessment services, amplification devices, counselling, and other hearing management strategies; access to surgical implantable hearing aid technology and follow up and ongoing monitoring.

Dr Nel Govender, manager of audiology and interim manager of speech language therapy at Sidra pointed out that hearing is essential to childhood learning and language development.

"The sooner hearing loss is identified and effectively managed, the sooner verbal communication development for the child can begin. It is important that as a healthcare provider we work closely with the families to develop treatment and care options that are in the best interests of the child’s development. Ultimately, it is about giving sound back to children – a feat that is now more possible than ever thanks to early intervention and advances in technology and surgery.”

Sidra, in collaboration with Cochlear Middle East, recently demonstrated a new milestone with a life changing moment for a young patient born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. The child, Osman, was able to hear conversational speech and quiet sounds for the first time – giving him a renewed chance towards improving his learning and developmental skills to be in line with other children his age.

Treacher Collins syndrome is a rare, inherited condition that stunts the growth of the bones and other tissues of the face, resulting in underdeveloped cheekbones and jawbones. Most children also have underdeveloped ear canals and abnormally shaped ears which contributes to hearing loss. The condition affects approximately one in 10,000 births worldwide. Approximately 30% of children with the syndrome have a cleft palate, and half of all affected children suffer from hearing loss.

Osman’s treatment and care relies on a multidisciplinary approach involving the support and expertise of a number of different healthcare teams across Sidra – including audiology, ENT, plastics craniofacial and child life development.

He was first referred to Dr Patrick Sheehan, Sidra’s division chief of paediatric otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. Following which, Osman was referred to the audiology clinic where his hearing loss levels were assessed.

Dr. Sheehan recalled Osman had a 60 decibel moderate to severe hearing loss. "A conventional behind-the-ear hearing aid would not have been effective. He needed a proven solution that has successfully helped children who are born with the same condition. In his case, it was a Baha 5 sound processor fitted with the Softband which is manufactured by Cochlear. Osman was Sidra’s first audiology patient to be fitted with the device.

Last updated: April 11 2017 09:13 PM

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