Q. My son is suffering from hearing loss due to encephalitis. Is there any alternate for cochlear implant?

Answered by
Dr. Sirisha
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 06, 2019

Hello doctor,

My 2-year-old son got encephalitis 40 days back, and he was discharged in five days from the hospital. He recovered very well. We noticed hearing loss from one month. Bera test report shows profound hearing loss, but MRI and Ct are fine. My doctor suggested a cochlear implant. But we want to know if any other alternative is possible like giving steroids?

Dr. Sirisha



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Surviving encephalitis is like getting another life, given its drastic complications. But the risk of developing long term complications often creates problems. Hearing loss occurs in approximately 2-4% following brain infection. It was rightly detected with BERA (brainstem evoked response audiometry). Having profound hearing loss means it is a severe form of hearing loss.

Options for the treatment of hearing loss:

1) Treating the underlying condition, if still persisting. (in your case it is already cured).

2) Hearing aids, as many varieties are available. It improves hearing but does not restore hearing to normal.

3) cochlear implants for severe to profound sensory neural hearing loss, or when hearing aids fail.

The younger the child at the time of hearing loss, and the delay in diagnosis can affect hearing and communication skills. As your child is above 2 years, and you have identified the problem early enough, the main aim is to develop his communication skills, which can happen with adequate hearing. And good results are achieved with proper treatment.

Giving steroids for your child would not solve this problem. Steroids are given during the acute infection process of the disease to prevent some complications from occurring. Your child would require a multidisciplinary approach including pediatrician, audiologist, speech therapist, ENT specialist, and psychologist, or behavior therapist if required.

Going for cochlear implant seems to be the better option for your child. Because hearing can affect communication and interaction, it has to be tackled properly with appropriate treatment options. Observe for visual difficulties, because they would depend on the vision for understanding the language until they have good hearing. Cochlear implants are also known to give better vocabulary compared to hearing aids. You can discuss treatment options with a ENT specialist.

I hope this helps.

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