A young boy was accompanied by his mother to the clinic. He was around 7 years old, smart, bubbly, adorable! He was doing pretty well in school too. He was brought to us with the complaint of not being able to hear on one side. He realised it only when he had to use headphones while attending virtual classes (during lockdown). He told his parents and they had immediately brought him for a check up. Initially, we suspected some kind of ear infection. Soon, I realised it wasn’t just an ear infection and decided to do a complete audiological evaluation. It was shocking to see that he had a severe loss of hearing on one side and the other side was completely normal. The evaluation of the hearing nerve showed that it was functioning minimally on the affected side. I got in touch with my colleague in ENT and decided to get radiological evaluations done. With our audiological evaluations and radiological inputs, we discovered that he has a rare condition that caused narrowing of an internal structure that houses the hearing nerve and the nerve itself was deficient and could not transmit the necessary information to the brain to process. The boy had been managing with his normal side till then. We immediately planned his complete hearing intervention and he was fitted with a hearing aid on the affected side. After a few days, in the child’s own verbatim ‘enakku ivalo naal aa en friends pesardhu Elam ozhunga puriyadhu. Ground la velaiyadambodhu avanga pesardhu kekadhu. Appo naan romba sad aayiduven. Sometimes Ma’am pesardhu kuda kekadhu. Romba kashta pattu gavanipen. Ippo adhelam seri aayiduchu! Naan romba happy aa irruken’. Meaning- I was not able to hear clearly all these days and had to put too much effort to listen in class. It has become easier now and has made him happy!
Accurate diagnosis with a well informed team (extremely important) and timely intervention helped the boy live a better life. Hearing impairment is a hidden disorder and often goes unnoticed, especially in children. However, the effect it has on the life and development of an individual is huge. Be informed.