Kolkata, Jan 18: With hearing loss and deafness leading to severe depression in nearly eight percent patients and nearly four percent of them acquiring suicidal tendencies, experts Saturday called for mandating hearing screening of newborns for early identification of the malady.
“Hearing loss or deafness results in nearly eight percent of the patients in the country developing depression which with time gets acute and the person may develop suicidal tendencies.
“Though there are not many studies on that but around four percent of those patients develop suicidal tendencies,” S.P Bera, surgeon and former ENT head at the Calcutta Medical College said here.
Participating in a symposium titled “Hearing Loss and Depression”, organised by the Bengal Speech and Hearing, Bera and fellow experts called for making hearing screening of newborns mandatory.
“We have long been calling for making the tests mandatory for newborns in hospitals, whether private or government. It will make detection of any hearing deficiency at the earliest easy, and resultant therapy and treatment can be initiated promptly,” Developmental Paeditrician Anjan Bhattacharya said.
Emphasising the need of the screening test, Bera said children suffering from hearing disability often fall victim to bullying in schools, their performance suffers and ultimately they fall victim to depression.
“Imagine the fate of a child who suffers from hearing loss going into an ordinary school. By the time people realise his disability, it is too late,” said Bera.
The experts also said hearing loss was steadily acquiring epidemic proportion with nearly 60 percent of the population between the age group of 20 and 40 years suffering from some hearing deficiency.
Besides noise pollution, the experts pointed out infective and congenital disorders as the prime reasons for hearing loss in the younger generation.