The Chairman, organising committee of the annual international conference of the Speech Pathologists and Audiologists Association in Nigeria (SPAAN), Mrs. Grace Ademila Sokoya, has revealed that aside hereditary or genetic factors responsible for hearing loss, other factors including malnutrition in pregnancy may play a major role in hearing disorder among children.
Mrs. Grace, who spoke at a press briefing to announce the annual conference billed to hold 22nd and 23rd June at the NECA building, Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos, said other likely factors that may cause hearing disabilities for children include drug and alcohol abuse in pregnancy and living in noise polluted environment.
Speaking on the purpose of the conference, President of the Association, Professor Abiola Ademokoya noted that its time members of the public become aware of the severity of speech and hearing disorders among the populace and to learn about ways to prevent and manage them.
According to Ademokoya, “the conference is focussing attention on children specifically identifying speech and hearing problems in children and providing necessary timely intervention because we believe that if speech and hearing problems are not quickly identified with young children and the necessary interventions provided, the possibilities are there that the children will grow with that untreated hearing problem, the untreated speech problem into adolescents and adults when the problems would have become so much intractable een f efforts are made at that level”.
Ademokoya pointed out that the emphasis is on identifying the problems as early as possible and to provide the necessary interventions so that the children can overcome or come out of whatever speech or hearing problem they may have.
The Professor of Pathology and Audiology University of Ibadan identified some of the speech and hearing problems to include, stuttering, pronunciation problems, voice problems (where some women speak like men), infections in the ear, hereditary or genetic disorders among others.
He therefore advised Nigerians concerned about communication hearing loss, stuttering, and other forms of communication problem by their children or children around them to avail themselves the opportunity to attend the conference.
The conference with the Theme: Communication Disorders In Children: Assessment and Interventions is expected to draw experts from across the fields of Audiology, Speech Pathology and Therapy as well as ENT Surgeons, Nurses, Administrators, people living with language and hearing difficulties among several others for the purpose of sharing experiences on latest methods of preventing the disorders, care and management options as well as coping and living skills for those with hearing and speech disorders.