Dubai, UAE: Despite routine hearing and vision screenings at birth, children can develop problems as they grow, said specialists, urging parents to undergo regular assessments after birth.
Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, they said hearing problems should be identified early because a child’s hearing is directly linked to speech and language development; whereas a child who has vision problems may find it difficult to communicate.
Dr Ziaul Akhter, Specialist Paediatrician at Cedars Jebel Ali International Hospital, Dubai, said many children suffer from hearing and vision problems as they grow.
“Some of the signs of a possible hearing problem include inattentiveness, not reacting to loud noise, not speaking at the expected age, mispronouncing words and talking loudly. Vision problems include erratic eye movements, rubbing eyes constantly and not making eye contact. We also check for a history of congenital hearing and/or vision defects,” he said.
Explaining the benefit of early diagnosis, Dr Akhter said: “Early diagnosis will also ensure that the child has access to the necessary special learning support services.”
Dr Mohammad Mustafa, audiologist, ENT department, Dubai Hospital: “A child could suffer from hearing loss in one or both ears due to several reasons like a birth defect, build-up of ear wax or fluid behind the eardrum, injury of the eardrum, objects lodged in the ear canal or damage to the eardrum due to an infection.”
Dr Mustafa said that the most common problems in children in UAE are fluid behind the eardrum because of a chronic middle ear infection and accumulation of wax in the external ear canal.
Dr Syamnath Somanath, ophthalmologist at Al Noor Polyclinic, Dubai, said: “Common vision problems in children are short-sightedness [myopia], long-sightedness [hyperopia], squint, and astigmatism [blurred or distorted vision]. A common problem is also dryness in the eyes due to environmental factors, air conditioning and prolonged use of computer and mobile screens.”
Several developmental aspects are affected due to hearing and vision problems, said Dr Abid Aydin, American-board certified paediatrician, and President of Medical Staff at the American Hospital, Dubai.
“A child with poor vision will experience difficulty in communication and language, motor skills, cognition and social and emotional skills. A child with poor hearing will experience difficulty in speech and language development because these aspects are directly linked to hearing. Overall, hearing and vision problems affect social and educational development,” he said.
© Gulf NewsNov 2013