Down syndrome is a health condition in which the affected patient carries an extra chromosome by birth. Chromosomes are containers of a large spectrum of genes. These hold information and direction that are decisive of your physical and mental traits. In Down syndrome, an extra chromosome is the reason behind postponement in a child’s development.
Studies point out that 80-85% of people suffering from Down syndrome will face some kind of hearing problem. A majority of people learn language skills by listening. This makes good hearing very important. This is one of the many factors that go into the development of a child’s intellect, making the treatment of Down’s syndrome very important at an early stage of the childhood.
This is why higher levels of hearing loss is observed in people suffering from Down’s syndrome:
• Higher occurrence of ear disease
• Abnormal structure of the ear
• Dysfunctional immunity
Kinds of Hearing Loss
Conductive : Conductive loss in hearing is temporary and is mostly marked by a failure of sound to get into the inner ear properly. In kids, there is often a secretion and build-up of fluid in the space behind the eardrum. It could even be a result of an infection or lack of earwax cleaning.
Sensorineural: Sensorineural or permanent hearing loss results from damage to the inner ear. In this, the hearing nerve may have taken damage. Often children suffering from Down’s syndrome have this kind of loss since birth, while others will develop it at a later stage in life. There is always a possibility of a patient having both these kinds of hearing loss.
Since we know the importance of hearing in the child’s development, it is important that Down’s syndrome is diagnosed early and that an audiologist tests the child early on. A referral to an audiologist can be found with your general physician. Often specialist of audiology and language therapy may have to collaborate to detect hearing problems.