A helpline was launched here Saturday for providing assistance to children suffering from hearing disabilities.
Social Service Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), launched the Shishu Sravana Helpline, which will provide information about the nearest hospitals where treatment facilities are available for children with hearing disabilities.
"This is basically meant to facilitate the treatment of early hearing disabilities in children," Srijith Sreedharan, managing trustee of the Social Service Foundation said at the launch of the new facility.
"All those who need this service just need to call a number and they will be provided guidance and information on the nearest government or private centre in Kerala where diagnostic facilities are available," he said.
Hearing disabilities in children can be detected as early as a few hours after birth with modern diagnostic instruments such as Oto-acoustic Emissions (OAE) Analysers and ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) units.
Hearing ailments often remain undetected until the child is a few years old.Since children can learn to speak only when they are very young, children with hearing disabilities fail to learn any language, which can only be picked up by listening to it.
Early detection and quick treatment can help those children who are born with hearing disabilities.
John Panicker, an ENT specialist, said that children with hearing disabilities have a limited window when they can acquire the spoken language.
"After two years, a child's language learning ability declines. The Sishu Sravan Helpline will guide parents suspecting hearing disabilities in children, to the nearest centre with facilities for detecting and treating the problem," he said.
The helpline will function with the support of mobile service provider 'Idea' and Australian firm 'Cochlear Australia' who deal with implantable hearing solutions.