PREVENTION AND EARLY DETECTION
What is an Early Detection?At present, it is irrefutable that hearing loss should be detected and treated at the earliest possible age. Early detection is a very important factor in the development of language and communication of children with hearing loss.
The success of the recovery of sound and later of language depends on the early age in which each child is diagnosed with a hearing problem and is given the appropriate treatment. The smaller a child with a hearing problem is diagnosed and cared for, the easier and more successful their auditory and language habilitation will be.
Children identified with a hearing loss up to 6 months of age, who receive a hearing aid or a cochlear implant and habilitation therapies, have demonstrated similar abilities to those children of the same age with normal hearing as opposed to the children identified. Belatedly during his life.
In Mexico, thousands of babies have not yet received the hearing screening (the screening test for some type of hearing loss) at birth or in the first months of life.
Early detection campaigns in rural and marginalized communities, performing audiological tests of EOA otoacoustic emissions to babies and small children.
CORAL has dedicated its efforts to going out to different rural and marginalized areas of the state of Oaxaca for about 10 years, in order to implement a strategy to provide audiological services to rural communities and marginal areas where there is a shortage of health services in audiology which results in late diagnosis for families.
The main strategy is based on conducting studies of otoacoustic emissions (EOA) free of charge in urban areas, marginalized urban areas and rural communities of the state of Oaxaca, mainly in families with low economic resources. Likewise, the realization of these studies encourages the sensitization towards the timely detection of hearing loss in children under 6 years of age.
Prevention information campaigns
At the same time that the study of otoacoustic emissions is not universally applied to newborns in the state of Oaxaca, it is also true that many parents are not sufficiently informed to demand the realization of their children.
Article 61 of the General Health Law wrongly establishes the right to health protection, especially maternal and child care, which includes, among other activities; “The early detection of deafness and its treatment, from the first days of birth”. For this reason, it is equally important that parents are informed about their rights to demand study for their children.
Under this reality, the Coral field team, when traveling through rural communities (mostly of indigenous origin) and marginalized areas, also offers information talks about hearing loss.
In the CORAL clinic, studies of Audiometry, Tympanometry and Otoacoustic Emissions (auditory sieve), Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (PEATC) are conducted.
Auditory screening studies for all newborn children up to 3 years of age.
A list of candidates is constructed to refer to the hearing and language education program.
Patients are referred to the ENT service (otorhinolaryngology)
Adaptation of hearing aids according to the type of hearing loss.
Manufacture of instant and prefabricated molds (silicone).
Adaptation and programming of hearing aids.
The Clinic has been equipped with high-technology Audiology devices to effectively treat people who come to CORAL for a diagnosis.
Clinic goes out to the communities with the objective of disseminating the audiological qualification making hearing tests to adults and seniors.
EDUCATION FOR INCLUSION (Hearing and Language Therapies)
CORAL offers since the early 90’s Hearing and Language Therapy with several solutions for the habilitation and rehabilitation of children with hearing disabilities of different ages. The therapies are given through three different communication methodologies:
Auditory-verbal therapy: Helps the child to use his residual hearing to acquire oral language.
Mexican Sign Language (LSM): Produced completely through gestures, hand movements and facial expressions.
Total Communication: Combination of oral language and sign language (LSM). Children learn to listen to linguistic sounds and to use both oral language and sign language to communicate.
Before being able to start a rehabilitation work, it is important that the child has all the relevant audiological studies (evoked potentials, audiometry, etc.) that diagnose the type and degree of the hearing loss. The rating depends on the specificity of each child, taking into account their age, the degree of hearing loss and their individual characteristics.
Importance of the parents of the children
In Coral, we work closely with parents of children with hearing loss, providing emotional support and sharing media they can establish with their children. Our goal is to make children feel valued and make the most of their therapies to develop a language and socialization with greater openness.
To help parents communicate with their children; They are taught to create an auditory environment and actively participate in the communicative and cognitive development of their children during the daily activities they perform. During therapy, mom or dad enters and actively participates, learning in this way, skills and various strategies that allow them to have better communication with their child.
When parents understand that they can expect much more from their child, the space is open for their child to develop more fluently, allowing them to remove barriers of communication and establish a more understanding environment.
Audiological follow-up: all the children integrated into the education program receive an audiometry every six months, during which the audiologist, the therapist and the mother or father are present.
Social Activities: throughout the year various activities are scheduled with children such as painting workshops, puppets, stories, games, visits to a place (park, library, etc.), events such as a December inn, end of course closing , where children and parents actively participate.
At the end of each period (December / July) assessments are made within the individual and team therapy, this is done by a presentation of parents with their children, in order to monitor the progress of each child and the method used, writing it in a progress report.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (SELF-HELP GROUPS)
Addressing hearing loss also requires the participation of families and people living with it in the communities.
This becomes more important when the options of audiological attention, language therapy, education, recreation and others, are absent in rural and indigenous communities or in popular and marginalized neighbourhoods of large cities. This is the case of Oaxaca, where the dispersion of its localities and access problems due to its topography make it difficult to provide the necessary services to address hearing loss in babies, children, young people and adults. Another element that plays against achieving a quality work towards people with hearing loss, both in their detection, habilitation, rehabilitation, is the shortage of specialists in audiology or hearing and language therapy.
In another sense but not less important, it is the dependence generated with the idea of ”helping them”, limiting their effective participation in the search for alternatives and in the implementation of actions to improve their situation.
The Coral Community Organization Program wants to help people with hearing impairment and their families see themselves as capable and active subjects to improve their lives and that of others who share their same condition. For this reason, this Program promotes the organization of self-help groups composed of people who live in some way the hearing impairment to support themselves emotionally, in the habilitation or rehabilitation of their daughters and sons, in obtaining greater and better knowledge about hearing disability and techniques or tools for the development of communication and language skills.
The self-help groups are the main element on which the process of organization in the community is based for the design and implementation of strategies to raise awareness and make the population aware of the hearing disability and that are more sensitive to the people and their families who live with this disability, seek care options in their community, better methods of education in their schools, greater follow-up by regional or community health centers; as well as, a better participation and awareness of the community authorities.
Management is important because with this the self-help group can expand its impact from the community and its authorities’ efforts, making its work more powerful so that schools, health centers, work centers and other families improve their ways of working. interact with children, youth and adults who have hearing loss.
TRAINING TO AUDIOLOGICAL TECHNICIANS
Likewise, from the self-help groups and other interested persons of the community (teachers, nurses or another person) people who enter a training process granted by CORAL who are trained as Community Audiological Technicians; prepared to carry out preventive talks and hearing screening tests for girls and boys, young people and adults.
This program recognizes that it is with the hearing impaired people, their families and the community itself, that it is possible to advance in a better social inclusion and in the improvement of the living conditions of the communities, promoting actions to improve education, health, increase knowledge about hearing impairment and thus reduce the discrimination to which they are subject.
The program aims to have a network of self-help groups at the state level strengthened and capable of advocating for the improvement of the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities and in public policies aimed at respecting their rights.
MEXICAN SIGN LANGUAGE
The Sign Language Program at CORAL began by attending to children with hearing loss and their parents who, for different reasons, needed to include manual communication within their therapies.
The class became, for some families, the fastest system to begin communication between parents and children, especially in cases where hearing loss has been diagnosed at a later age.
A CORAL, also parents with hearing loss who live close to deafness and being the sign language their only communication system; they get their children diagnosed on time (especially if they live in the city) and they, along with their children, take the therapies and the babies start a new development different from their parents.
The staff of CORAL is committed to learning Sign Language, so twice a week we meet and receive the class of our instructor, Maestro Abraham.
CLASSES OF LSM IN DIFFERENT PLACES OF THE CITY OF OAXACA
The classes are attended by children, young people and adults who are eager to learn, generating an environment where enthusiasm and joy come together!The classes are free and take place in the BS Children’s Library and CORAL.