aby Ishal was first diagnosed with hearing loss after she underwent a screening at a facility under the Ambulatory Healthcare Services, Seha’s outpatient clinic network. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A newborn baby’s hearing has been successfully restored in Abu Dhabi as part of the emirate’s newborn screening programme.

In a statement, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) said Baby Ishal, who was born on January 3, was first diagnosed with hearing loss after she underwent a screening at a facility under the Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS), Seha’s outpatient clinic network. Ishal’s parents were immediately referred for further diagnostic audiology procedures in order to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis and possible treatment options.

“Through our integrated and referral approach, we were able to give Baby Ishal her hearing back. We pride ourselves on being a part of the Seha network, utilising world-class services throughout our facilities and developing a bespoke diagnostics and treatment plan for every patient that comes into our care. In Ishal’s case, we referred her to Tawam Hospital to perform the required audiology test before concluding the treatment required for hearing loss management,” said Thahira Kallumurikkal, audiologist at the AHS’ Oud Al Touba Diagnostic and Screening Centre.

The audiology team at Tawam confirmed hearing loss in both ears, and also advised the fitting of hearing aids as early as possible in order to avoid any delay in speech and language development. The family was submitted as a case to obtain free hearing aids, and Ishal is currently undergoing speech and language therapy for better communication.

“My sister, Ishal’s aunt, was born with bilateral sensory neural hearing loss. So, we were aware of the possible consequences if we did not fit the hearing aids for her as early as possible,” Ishal’s father said.

“Being deaf does not limit anyone’s abilities, but we wanted our child to live a normal life. We are incredibly grateful to audiologist, and the doctors at AHS and Tawam, for restoring her ability to hear. A gift we all take for granted, Ishal heard my voice for the first time because of their efforts. I am forever indebted to them,” he added.

Timely identification and management are crucial for any infant suspected of having or developing hearing loss. Through the support of both hospitals, Baby Ishal has the opportunity to grow up with hearing, and will be able to develop her speech and language skills normally.