Early Detection of Hearing Loss in Children Coming to the North

If you have a child or children below 18 years old and suspect they need help for loss of hearing then you have help at your doorstep. It won’t cost
17 Feb 2018 11:00
Early Detection of Hearing Loss in Children Coming to the North
A member of the Frank Hilton audiology team examines a hearing ability of a young student.

If you have a child or children below 18 years old and suspect they need help for loss of hearing then you have help at your doorstep.

It won’t cost you anything. But it is understood that further expenses arising after diagnosis and special medication for after-care treatment have to be borne by parents.

Better still, if you live in the Northern Division the Frank Hilton audiology team will be conducting screening for hearing and ear health issues at the Labasa Special School on February 19 and 20, and Savusavu Special School on February 21.

This is in line with the Frank Hilton Organisation (FHO) vision to ensure early detection and intervention services for children with and at risk of acquiring a disabilities.

FHO chief executive officer Sureni Perera said: “If you feel your child requires a hearing check or if you are concerned that your child does not display age appropriate language development, or if your child constantly suffers from ear pain or ear infections and is between the ages 0-18, then please come over to the designated venues from 9am to 3pm.’’

The screening outreach in Special Schools was made possible through a Government grant which the Organisation received through the 2017-2018 National Budget.

The screening will ensure that all children enrolled at the special schools are screened, diagnosed and provided with necessary intervention.

Similar screenings conducted in Nadi and Lautoka last week attracted 150 cases.

The screenings will be conducted by visiting Ear, Nose and Throat specialists, assisted by local experts and technical staff sourced from Colonial War Memorial Hospital, in Suva.

FHO took on board audiologist Dr Donna Carkeet, from Ears Inc, an Australian organisation which is in a partnership with their Fiji counterpart.

Dr Carkeet said: “Early identification of ear and hearing problems is important to minimise their effects on education and speech and language development. It allows us to treat temporary hearing problems and commence rehabilitation for those with permanent hearing loss.”

Mrs Perera said: “This is the second round of screening of children in special schools undertaken by us. Last November we screened 300 children in six special schools in the West. Understanding that 50 per cent of hearing loss is preventable we strongly feel a proactive approach in identifying children at the earliest possible time will offer them better opportunities in later life”

Mrs Perera said the organisation would ensure that those identified with or at risk of hearing loss receive the necessary follow up treatment and rehabilitation.

“We are also looking to equip children with hearing aids, train the teachers in maintenance and management of hearing aids within their schools and also conduct parent awareness programmes,’’ Mrs Perera said.

“We will also attempt to have teacher training workshops on appropriate communication and language development within classrooms to better support children with hearing loss”

Mrs Perera highlighted that the age for the children screened will be from birth to 18 years only as FHO is mandated to provide service to children.

The screening outreach in special schools was made possible through a government grant which the organisation received through the 2017-2018 National Budget.

Frank Hilton Organisation is a part of the Fiji Crippled Children’s Society, which has branches is Nausori, Ba, Lautoka and Labasa.

It has worked predominantly in Suva since the 1960s. The Frank Hilton Organisation also carries out an infant screening programme at the CWM Hospital’s NICU and out-patients department ensuring that infants at risk are screened at birth or soon after.

The organisation has grown rapidly during the past five years and has departments in physiotherapy, speech therapy and community support ensuring that children with disabilities receive a holistic range of services under one roof.

Source: Frank Hilton Organisation


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