School for children with hearing impairments opens in Astana

ASTANA – A special school for children with hearing loss recently opened in Astana based on the city children’s hospital No. 2. The main tasks of the school are health education and prevention of hearing impairment. For that, the school carries out early age hardware screening of hearing and organises lectures with doctors.

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This hardware screening for hearing helps to identify hearing issues of children if present on the second day after birth.

“The majority of newborns with hearing issues inherited it genetically, transmitting it from a mother if she gets sick during pregnancy, or these are acquired issues,” said Chief Freelance Surdologist of Astana Healthcare Department Assel Kudaibergenova.

Assel Kudaibergenova. Photo credit: bnews.kz.

In all maternity hospitals and clinics there are hearing screening devices and it is better to make the screening in the first days of a child’s life. Premature babies, children with Down syndrome, autistic spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy are also at risk, she said.

The parents of children and adolescents with hearing impairments need additional support and training from professionals, therefore, the school is vital, according to experts.

“The main tasks of the school are health education and prevention of hearing impairment. Those include conducting conversations with parents and relatives of children with hearing and speech impairments, teaching children and parents how to care after hearing kits and speech processors of cochlear apparatuses, lecturing about the pathology of hearing and the auditory system with otolaryngologists, surdologists, psychologists, neuropathologists and geneticists,” said Kudaibergenova.

She stressed that currently surgeries to install cochlear implants are done in the capital and Almaty.

Photo credit: bnews.kz.

“A cochlear apparatus is implanted in children by surgery when they have fourth-degree deafness, congenital deafness or when a hearing kit has no effect. A special committee selects children for this surgery, which includes a surdologist, a neuropathologist, a surgeon- otolaryngologist, a tomography physician, an anesthesiologist, a psychologist and a teacher-surdologist. This surgery is carried out on a quota, free of charge, according to a queue,” she said.

The result of the surgery depends on many factors, such as at what age the device was implanted, whether there was some hearing experience, whether a patient previously wore a hearing aid, whether there was rehabilitation after the surgery and whether a patient had a concomitant neural disorder.

The implantations have also been done for adults with hearing loss.